I want you to take your Bible this morning and turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 9 for our Scripture reading, 2 Corinthians chapter 9, and we're going to learn today about, "What does it mean to be a church of grace?" and "How can we be a church that is growing in that grace, especially as we approach this next Sunday?" Second Corinthians 9, if you don't have a Bible you'll find the notes in your bulletin, and I hope you follow along there.
"For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous," or unnecessary, "for me to write to you: for I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty." The word "bounty" means offering. And so Paul is saying, "I've sent those ahead to help you get your offering ready.
Verse 6: "But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." Let's pray together.
Father, we thank you that you are the God of all grace who can help us abound to every good work. You can help us in our job, you can help us in our childrearing, you can help us in our giving. Whatever we do in your name you give us the grace. So help us to learn today how to be a grace-filled church. Bless this song we'll here and then the message from the Word of God this morning, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.
You know, much of the New Testament really is giving us a peek into different churches: the church at Corinth, the church at Ephesus, the church at Galatia. When you read these books you're reading about real life churches like ours with real life people like us who are growing in their faith; and the apostles were challenging them as they wrote to them. And it's interesting how God rolls back the curtain and lets us take a look today into the church at Corinth.
Now the first century saw many churches rapidly being built and developed as the apostles preached throughout the Roman Empire. Some were strong and fruitful, and others were weaker and needy. And all of them needed reminders from God's Holy Spirit. And some of these churches that were getting started around Jerusalem were churches that were suffering greatly.
You see, to be a Christian at that time meant that perhaps you would be persecuted or you would lose your job. It was difficult for some of the Christians at Jerusalem, and so sometimes we read that there were offerings taken to send money and supplies to the Christians at Jerusalem who were struggling in the early days of Christianity. And sometimes the churches that had promised to send an offering had sort of lost focus, and so they needed to be reminded. And the apostles would remind them about the offering that they had committed, and that they needed to be ready and be prepared to send that offering.
What I have found is that many times, each of us, like those in the New Testament, we have the best of intentions, but we also need to be reminded. We need to be reminded about our serving, about our giving. We need to be reminded about being faithful to the Lord. Some of us needed to be reminded to get up from bed one hour earlier this morning, right?
I don't know how many emails and texts I had; and somehow I was right on schedule. I think I was up about 5:00. I sat down and just fell asleep just a little bit; and my wife came and she kind of nudged me and she said, "Hey, it's time change Sunday." Some of you needed that this morning, too. And we need these reminders, because we can lose focus.
I heard about a man that went on a vegetarian diet. He was really determined. He and his friends decided this is it, and, "We're going to make a move and lose some weight." And so they were moving along in their diet. But this fella just suddenly – he just couldn't control himself anymore. He had a craving for meat. He decided, "I've got to have some meat." He told his friends he was going on vacation. He went to the next town, sat down at a restaurant. When he sat down, he ordered an entire roasted pig to be brought to his table.
Well, much to his chagrin after he ordered, he looked up and there was one of his dieting friends walking right into the restaurant. He goes, "I don't know; what am I going to do?" And his friend walked up to him, and right after his friend walked up not long after that here came the waitress, and she had this huge, huge pig on the tray, had a big apple in his mouth, and she sat the pig down there on the table. And suddenly the man at the table said, "Wow, isn't that something; all you do is order an apple, and look what all comes with it."
I'm not sure if that worked or not, but I would say that man has a little bit of a focus problem, right? And sometimes in our lives we need to learn to be focused and we need to be reminded to be focused. And I see here a church in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 that was being reminded to stay focused on the special offering for the Jerusalem saints. And I want you to learn about a grace-filled church with me this morning. And I want you to notice, first of all as we study this church, the spirit of the church, the spirit of the church.
We learn in verse 1, "For as touching the ministering to the saints." The word "ministering" means the service. This was a church that had a heart for serving. They were a people that were willing and serving in the ministry.
In fact, I want you to notice, first of all, that they were a ready church – if you're taking notes. The Bible says in verse 2, "For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many."
Here we see the forwardness of their mind. The word "forwardness" means there's zeal. It means that they were willing, they were ready. In other words, the church at Corinth had a willingness to be a part. They were a church that was ready.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 8:11, "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 ye have." So this church was ready to be involved in the offering.
Verse 2 says this. It says, "I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago." So looking on the map you can notice a little bit about Achaia. We can have that slide here, fellas.
The Achaia church is located just to the north of Corinth, and also of Athens. And all of these churches of Macedonia were being challenged to take an offering. And Paul says, "You know Achaia was ready a year ago," and he says, "and I know you're ready." In other words, these churches were encouraging one another.
You know, it is my prayer that the faith and action of Lancaster Baptist Church will encourage other churches to step out by faith and reach children and reach communities for the glory of God. So this church was ready to be a part of the work. They were inspiring others.
They were not only a ready church, I want you to notice, secondly, they were a reminded church. You see, the Bible says in verse 5, "Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as a matter of covetousness." Now Paul had sent Titus to the church at Corinth and he had sent this man Titus to help them to prepare and to remind them about the offering.
So what I have found in my life and ministry is that even people that are ready and they're willing and they have the right intentions – even good-minded people need to be reminded. All of us need to be reminded. And I mean, there's no guy here in his right mind that wants to forget his wife's birthday. But sometimes without putting an alarm on your computer or writing it down on a calendar, you might forget. So even though you're ready and you're willing, you still need to be what? Reminded.
And so, this is what Paul the apostle was doing. He was reminding the church at Corinth about the coming offering for the needs at Jerusalem. The word "bounty" is a beautiful word. It is the Greek word eulogia. It speaks of giving a blessing. It speaks of being generous. And so, he says, "Let's have a blessing for the church at Jerusalem. Let's be generous toward them." And so here we see the spirit of the church. They were ready and they were being reminded.
Ladies and gentlemen, when we walk through those doors next Sunday morning, may we be ready, may we be a reminded church this morning, and may we be willing to do what God lays upon our heart for the Kid City and for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The spirit of the church was a ready spirit. You say, "But they were in Macedonia. There were problems and trials and poverty." But by the grace of God they were preparing.
Notice, secondly, not only we're the spirit of the church, but notice secondly, the sowing of the church, the sowing of the church. Now the Bible says in verse 6, "But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
Now everyone here desires to see more souls saved. Everyone here desires to see your life blessed. But the fact is very simply that we're not going to reap unless we're willing to sow. And so this principle of sowing and reaping is vital in every aspect of life.
Now I hope all of you realize that if we're able to sow – and we are – that's because God blesses us. The Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift cometh down from above from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variable, neither shadow of turning." So every gift in your life – your job, your health, the finances, your children – these are the gifts that God has given. And God says to this church at Corinth, he says, "I want you to be willing to sow from that which I have given to you."
Now how do we do the sowing in the church? What does a grace-filled church look like when it comes to sowing? I want you to notice, first of all, the portion that we sow. And I want to give you a quick lesson today on tithing, because this is the first area or way that we sow. And many of you have not begun yet; this is something that you're kind of a little apprehensive about. Please just listen to what the Bible says this morning about tithing.
First of all, you'll notice in your outline, tithing was established before the law. Some people say, "Well, that's just from the law of Moses." Actually, no. We actually find going all the way back into the book of Genesis that Abraham after winning a battle, a military battle, he was approached by a high priest named Melchizedek.
Melchizedek was actually what we call a theophany or an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. And when Abraham saw Melchizedek he offered to him a tithe of all the bounty and blessing that he had received. In fact, it says in Hebrews 7:2, "To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part." And so, tithing began before the law.
Secondly, you'll see, tithing was expanded under the law. Now the Hebrew word maasrah means tenth or a tenth part. And so, tithing was very common in the Jewish economy. It was something that was understood by every Jewish family. In fact, notice the principle here, because one thing I want you to do as we consider this subject today is not to respond just to the Kid City or to the children or even to the pastor. I want us always to be a church that responds to the Bible, because the Bible is the Word of God.
And I want you to see what the Bible says about tithing, Malachi 3:8, "Will a man rob God?" Now someone says, "Well, that's ridiculous. No one puts their hand in the offering and takes money out." I hope no one did that this morning.
But equally so, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, 'Wherein have we robbed thee?' In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith," saith the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Now notice the phrase there: "Prove me now herewith." Let's say that together: "Prove me now herewith." Now you've heard of the Pepsi challenge. This is the God challenge right here. God says, "I want you to prove me. I want you to try me."
Sometimes I wonder and sometimes I pray, "Lord, help the businessmen in our church to realize that God wants to bless them. Help them to prove God. Help the single moms in our church. Help all of us as members to be willing to prove God."
And he says, "If you'll honor me, I'll open up the windows of heaven and bless your business and bless your life." But he says, "I want you to allow me to be proven." So tithing was expanded under the law.
And then, thirdly, I want you to see here, tithing was explained as a stewardship or as a trust. So Proverbs 3:9 it says this: "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and they presses shall burst out with new wine." God says, "I want you to honor me as I bless you, I want you to remember me."
And I told you last week, when Terrie and I made the decision that we would begin tithing, I was making $180.00 a week. We made the decision to tithe $18.00 a week. And that did not make a great big difference to the church. I mean, the pastor didn't say, "Woo-woo, here he comes, the big giver," he didn't say that.
It didn't make a big deal to the church, but it made a big deal in our hearts, because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. I'll go so far as to say that folks in here who don't learn how to tithe will not be found faithful in church many years from now, because we must seek first the kingdom of God. It's a vital part of the Christian life. And so, God says, "I want you to honor me with your firstfruits."
After years of scrimping and saving, there was a husband who told his wife, he said, "Honey, finally we have enough money to buy what we've been saving for since 1994," and she said, "Really?" She said, "A brand new Cadillac?" He said, "No, a 1994 Cadillac." And some of you understand, it takes a little while.
But I'm telling you something, friend, the fact of the matter is that giving God the firstfruits gives God a blessing or a way to bless you. Now you can try it your way and you can save and work your plan, or you can trust God and honor him with the firstfruits, and let God meet your needs.
Notice, finally, tithing is expressed in the church, 1 Corinthians 16:1, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." So in the Old Testament they would come to the storehouse, or the temple, and they would bring their tithe. In the New Testament we come to the church and we lay by in store such as God has prospered us.
Now, folks, this is an exciting thing. Once you begin to grow in the grace of giving, you begin to learn it's a blessing. God says he loves a cheerful giver. And I've seen some people, they give in the offering sort of like they give to the IRS, you know what I mean: "Oh, boy, here it comes, I have to give it." They pull out their dollar bill, you know, "Goodbye, George. I worked seven minutes for you," and they give like they're giving to the IRS. Then there's other people, they give like a young man who's giving the engagement ring to his finance to be.
I remember when Terrie and I were dating, I worked at Montgomery Wards, I worked in the shoe department. I loved it when the winter was like this winter when there was a lot of rain, because what happened was people would come in and buy not shoes or sandals, because sandals are cheap. You can buy sandals for $12.00. But they would buy boots, and boots cost $60.00 and $70.00. And I worked on commission, so I wanted to sell boots. I got a salary, but I got a commission.
And a lot of ladies came in during the wintertime and they wanted to buy boots. No offense, ladies; but many of them could not zip the boot up. But God gives wisdom to his men. I went to the hardware department and I got a pair of pliers. I kept them in my back pocket and I helped many a satisfied customer, with their permission, to get the zipper up over their calf by using a pair of pliers. Oh, they were so happy; many of those ladies, they'd waddle out of there, you know.
And I would go to get my paycheck, and I would get my commission check and all of that. And I'll never forget going down to the jewelry department in Montgomery Wards, and I found a beautiful diamond for Terrie. And I remember putting that first $5.00 down for that diamond. And then every day I'd paid maybe $5.00 or $10.00 more, maybe $20.00, and over time just buying that engagement ring for Terrie.
And I remember the day came, we went to the Japanese Gardens in San Jose, California. I remember I was so nervous, because I had told Terrie that I loved her four times. Three times I told her and she said nothing back. That was brutal, just brutal. And I remember mustering all the courage up and saying, "Terrie, I just want you to know I love you," and she would look at me like, "Yeah?" I mean, said nothing, nothing back, you know.
And I mean, I wish she would just slug me on the shoulder and said, "Good for you," or something; but nothing, three times. And I was just so concerned, you know, that maybe she would not answer this question. But, oh, I got on my knee and I pulled out that ring and I put it on her finger, and I said, "Would you please be my wife?" And of course, she said yes, and it was so exciting to give her that ring.
And I want to tell you something: that's how it ought to be when we give to the Lord. Don't let the Devil rob your joy; but be thankful and give with a cheerful heart. You know, it's sad to say that only eight percent of all American Christians actually tithe regularly. Ninety-two percent either don't, or they're hit and miss. Brethren, this ought not to be. God says, "I want you to come with the tithe." This is how we sow, according to verse 6.
And then also there is in the Bible the offering, the offering. You see, someone said, "The more passionate our faith, the more consistent our giving." Think about the widow. Think about the widow's mite. She didn't have very much, but look in your notes, Mark 12:41, "And Jesus sat over against the treasure, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even her living.'"
This widow did not give because it fit into her budget. She was not forced to give ten percent, she gave generously. Jesus said, "These other people, they're just giving from their leftovers, but she has made a sacrificial gift. Her portion was an offering that was pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ." Oh, the portion that we give, it begins with the tithe.
But also, we must learn what an offering is. And notice the promise that God gives in verse 6. It says, "For God loveth a cheerful giver." Verse 6, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; he which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully."
You know this verse: "Be not deceived; God is not," what? "mocked." "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also," what? "reap." Right? And this is what we're talking about next Sunday: sowing and reaping.
I heard of a preacher that went to a farm. He went to the farm, began speaking to the farmer. He said, "If you had a hundred cows, would you give fifty to the Lord?" The farmer said, "I sure would, Preacher." He said, "If you had fifty sheep, would you give twenty-five to the Lord?" He said, "I sure would, Preacher." He said, "If you had two hogs, would you give one to the Lord?" Farmer said, "Now that ain't fair, Preacher. You know I got two hogs."
See, a lot of people say, "Well, if I get a raise, then. If I win the lottery, then. If I had this much, then." But the question is, "What will we do with what we have as we give to the Lord?" You see, this is the promise: "If you give, I'll give again, fully measured and pressed down and running over will men give into your bosom." We see the portion is the tithe and the offering, the promise that God will give.
Then notice the purpose. There must be a purpose made in our heart. Now I want you to notice what the Bible says in verse 7, please, 2 Corinthians 9:7, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
Now notice the phrase, "according as he purposeth in his heart." Let's say that together: "according as he purposeth in his heart." That's not that hard. Let's say it again: "according as he purposeth in his heart."
So God says, "Every man needs to purpose in his heart." That means every man or woman needs to decide what they're going to do. So, let's read this together. I want all the church family to read this verse, beginning here in verse 7 at the first word, and just this one verse. Get your Bible, get your notes; let's read this together, verse 7. Ready, begin: "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
So God says, "I want everyone to purpose. I want you to decide." Now look right here. Everyone here is going to decide something this week. Some will decide not to get involved. Hopefully everyone will decide and to be involved with all of our heart, and come together and make a major sacrificial offering for the Lord. But whatever you do, there will be a decision.
And the Bible says, "Let every man purpose in his heart." Now this word "purpose" requires a plan. It requires planning. It requires looking at, "What do I have in what accounts?" and "What can I do by faith?"
Now in your notes I want you to pull out just this little brochure that we have for the kids offering. This is a planning tool. This is something to help you plan this week. You see, next week we're going to have a one-time offering for the Kid City Building. But also, we're going to make a commitment offering; and this little card on the back of the brochure explains the commitment. And we'll be giving a card out actually about this size next week, quite a bit larger, and we'll be able on that commitment card to fill out what we feel we can do on a weekly basis or a monthly basis. So we'll give a cash offering, and then we'll give a commitment offering as well.
Now most of us will give this offering on Sunday night. Those who just cannot attend Sunday night will give this on Sunday morning. Next Sunday night we're going to count the offering while we have a musical concert, and we'll announce the total next Sunday night as well. But I want to encourage you as you prepare, the Bible says, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart."
So take this card out, just begin thinking, "Lord, what would you have me to do with the one-time offering? Lord, what could I do over the course of next year just on top of my tithe and offering, a commitment offering, for the Kid City Building?" Now tonight I'm going to share a timeline of construction and when we want to start these projects. But much of it has to do with this card, because it's going to depend on the commitment of God's people as we move into the construction phase of this project.
So God says, "I want you to decide, I want you to plan, and I want you to enjoy this." Look at that in verse 7: "For God loveth a cheerful giver." Let's say that together: "For God loveth a cheerful giver." Now someone said, "God loves a cheerful giver, but he'll take it from a grouch." I don't know that that's really true. You know what I believe? I believe God sees the heart. I believe God wants us to enjoy worshiping him.
So we see this Spirit of the church. It was a ready spirit. The sowing the church, tithes and offerings. Notice, finally this morning, the supply of the church. How does God make all this work? Well, look at verse 8, it's an amazing, amazing verse, and it says, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all things and having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
So the supply is from God. You say, "How am I going to be involved in this?" Would you just trust the Lord, pray to the Lord, seek his face. He is able to do all things. He will supply every need. He is able to supply with all sufficiency unto every good work. Ephesians 3:20 says, "He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."
Many of us ought to pray, "Lord, I want to do something I never thought I could do. I want to do something for the Kid City Building that is beyond what is me. I want it to be obviously you, Lord. Provide for me in that way as I trust in you." It is from God. But I want you to remember, it is for others, all right. So it's from God and for others. Let's say that together: "It's from God, it's for others."
So notice what it says in verse 12. It says, "For the administration of this service," speaking about the offering, "not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings to God."
Now notice here that this offering is going to supply the wants or the needs of the saints. In the case of this offering, it was the saints at Jerusalem and the needs that they had. In the case of next Sunday's offering, it is for the needs of the children of the Antelope Valley who are needing the gospel now more than ever. We're supplying for the needs of little saints who know the Lord, and those who need to know the Lord and become the children of God.
I was reading this past week that 78 percent of child maltreatment victims have experienced extreme neglect, 18.3 percent of those were physically abused, 9.3 percent of those were sexually abused, 8.5 percent were psychologically maltreated, and 2.3 were medically neglected. In addition, 10.6 percent of child victims experienced various other types of mistreatment. We live in a day when many times little children who have maybe a mom that doesn't work, maybe a dad that's in jail, many times they're viewed upon as just kind of the scourge of society, just kind of, "Get out of my way."
In fact, it's gotten so bad that recently, many senators in Washington even said that they would vote for infanticide or taking the life of a little child that a mother intended to abort but suddenly was born, that they're favoring now legal murder of the little child when it's just trying to take its first few breaths; that's the attitude of this world many times towards those less fortunate and towards those that are younger. And that's why we want this building to be a welcome mat to boy and girls in the Antelope Valley to say to them, "God loves you and we love you, too."
Here's a little video showing you some of the entryway coming into the breezeway and then into the Kid City Building. And I'm excited about this new area. We're going to have opportunity to take off the drive-thru on the left side. That'll be taken down that it doesn't stick out anymore. We're going to have some nice garden areas. We're going to have the stone memorial on the left as you walk in. We're going to have the children's tile on the children's building and some new stacked stone, a beautiful connector between the Worship Center and the Kid City Building – I'm looking forward to that – where moms and dads can drop the children off in Kid City and then walk through a beautiful area that's heated in the winter and has good shield from the wind and the elements.
We're going to have a large outdoor playground on the east side of the building; of course, the slide and playground on the inside as well. And all of this just to say to the kids, "Come on in; this is your area." We'll put a cross above the Worship Center. But there's going to be a great entry and a great welcoming appeal for boys and girls to come and to be a part of Lancaster Baptist Church.
I'll be honest with you, folks. I don't need to build another building to prove anything. We've built a lot of buildings around here in 34 years; and you don't need to be part of that just because. But the need is compelling, and I want you to think with me, there are 40 nurseries meeting right now as I preach in this auditorium, 40 nurseries on this campus. There are 57 children's classes right now with children in modulars here and there and way down at the gym, all over the campus, and we want to unify a place for these children to hear the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. And I believe the most significant contribution we make in this life is the passing of our faith to the next generation, to boys and girls who need to know that God really loves them.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not my favorite all-time sports figure; he has some opinions I do not hold to. But something he said recently really did touch my heart. The Hall of Fame Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently auctioned off his four NBA Championship rings, and also gave a lot of memorabilia: signed basketballs from his last basketball game when he set his record of NBA – still standing record, 38,387 points. He gave his 1980, '85, '87, and '88 ring to a foundation that would help underprivileged children. And this is what he said when he made this donation of money and when he took some of these things that he had and gave them.
He said, "When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or a trophy in a room and providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple," he said. "I'm going to sell it all. Looking back on what I have done with my life instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold-plating, celebrating something I did a long time ago, I'd rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about their future and what that future means. That's a history that has no price."
Abdul-Jabbar said, "I want to do what I can to help these children." And, folks, I want you to think with me this morning, there's something to me far more compelling than looking into the face of a child as they stare at a caterpillar, and that is looking at the face of a child when they have just accepted Jesus Christ into their heart, and suddenly they realize their sins are washed away, and they get to go to heaven with the big people. And God loves them, too. And even though Daddy isn't at home, and even though Mommy's struggling through, that somebody said to them, "God loves you, and Jesus died for you," and they heard about it at Lancaster Baptist Church.
And I want you to understand that if a Muslim man can look at all these things and say, "I'll give them to the cause," then what ought we to do for the children, we who believe in Jesus, and we who believe in the death and the burial and the resurrection, and we who say that we love the Lord Jesus Christ? What should we do this next week for the glory of God?
Now as we come to these final days, I've done my best this morning to remind you to keep that spirit of being ready. Sometimes a pastor can get discouraged during a week like this. You'll ask somebody maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday, "Are you preparing for the offering?" "Is that this Sunday?"
So let me encourage you; be praying and be ready. Be ready to sow and determine in your heart. You know, the fact is that even the guy sitting here thinking, "Well, I don't have much," you are wealthy, my friend.
The fact is that we have more in storage. You've got more in your garage than some people have in their whole life's possessions. And all of us can be looking at accounts and looking at things we have and saying, "Lord, what can I do to make a difference?" And as you look at the commitment card there are folks that get involved in various ways, and sometimes appreciated stock, and sometimes real estate, and all these things that you can think about. But I'm saying, if a Muslim man would think about, "Well, I've got trophies and rings," what can we do for the cause of Jesus Christ?
We have no company that's advising us for this campaign; most churches our size do. We have no guest speaker next week, it's just a pastor and a people being a church, a church of grace, a church that cares, a church that's still reaching out. After 34 years, what we're trying to be is just the church that God has called us to be. I'm not against companies that help. I'm not against guest speakers. I'm just saying, let's be the church that God has called us to be next Sunday and do what God called us to do by his grace.
You see, the Bible is very clear: "For God so loved the world, that he," what? Gave. He what? Gave. – "gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
One verse and we're done. Look in your notes or in your Bible to 2 Corinthians 8:9, 2 Corinthians 8:9. When you find it say amen. All right, most of you got it. Let's read it together, 2 Corinthians 8:9, ready begin: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
Some says, "Why should I give? I didn't come here to listen to this. Why should I give?" "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, ye through his poverty might be made rich." You see, he was rich, but he became poor. The Lord Jesus Christ in eternity past was with God the Father. The Bible tells us that they were there in sweet fellowship. The Bible tells us that he is eternal God.
Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." And yet, though he was rich he became poor. He was born of the Virgin Mary. He lived and grew up in a carpenter's shop. He lived for thirty-and-a-half years on this earth, and then he to the cross of Calvary, and there the nails were piercing through his hands and through his feet, and he shed his blood for us. Though he was rich, yet he became poor, that we, through his poverty, because he came that we might be made rich.
And someone says, "Well, I'm not rich." Then you don't know who you are in Jesus Christ, because if you are saved, you are seated in the heavenlies. If you are saved, then you've been blessed with forgiveness. If you are saved, you are spiritually rich today according to the Word of God. And that is possible because Jesus Christ came and gave himself. Though he was rich, he became poor for us.
And so, what is next Sunday? It is an opportunity to be like the Lord Jesus Christ in meeting the needs of others.
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