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Jack Graham - Enriched in Every Way


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    Jack Graham - Enriched in Every Way
TOPICS: Far More, Generosity, Prosperity

Now maybe you've come to church and felt like you've been squeezed, manipulated, pushed, pressured. That's not what this message is about, but I'm telling you what it's about. It is about how God wants to bless your life through your giving. That your giving of your tithes, your offerings to the Lord, your treasure to the Lord is a measure of your devotion to the Lordship of Christ in your life, and it is the pathway to prosperity. It is the way to blessing, abundant blessing in your life. And we need to discover the joyous grace of giving, because God wants to enrich your life in every way. Some Christians have no idea what they're missing because they do not share in the enjoyment and the enrichment of giving. Paul is motivating believers to give in 2 Corinthians chapter 9. And in verse 6 he says this: "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully".

Now that's a simple principle, right? A farmer knows it. If you have a little bit of seed and scatter it, you'll have a small harvest. But much seed means a greater harvest. If you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly. If you sow generously, or the word here is bountifully, it's a word akin to the word blessing, you will reap bountifully. That is with an abundance. And so he says in verse 7: "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart". Giving is a matter of the heart, grace-giving, not guilt-giving. Giving that comes from the heart; because God is more interested in our willingness than in our wealth.

So he says: "As each one has purposed or decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion", no body's squeezing you, "but God loves a cheerful giver", smile when you read that, "for God loves a cheerful giver. And", one of my favorite verses, "God is able to make all grace abound to you", all grace, all kinds of grace; it is exponential; it is everlasting; it is ever coming again and again, "all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency", that is, all your needs are going to be met, your life will be sufficient for anything and everything, "in all things", at all times, and, "that you may abound in every good work".

There's the bottom line. We are blessed to bless others; we are blessed in order that we may give our blessings away. It's all about generosity. Giving expresses a heart of generosity which is a quality that every Christian should seek. Look back down at verse 9. It says: "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase", these are all words of abundance, "the harvest of your righteousness. And you", verse 11, mark this, "you will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God". He enriches us in every way, and that includes financially.

I say it clearly. God wants to bless you physically, personally, financially, spiritually. Yes, He blesses us spiritually, and that would be enough. All the spiritual blessings of answered prayer and the blessings upon our families, the spiritual blessings of a church and a home, and on and on we could go describing the spiritual blessings that we have. But, you know, one guy said to me, "You know, I can't eat spiritual blessings. Spiritual blessings don't put a roof over my head. What about that"? Well, God cares about that as well. And God is no man's debtor, and I'm telling you that God wants to bless you financially, materially when you become a generous person. So how do you do this? Again, Paul is motivating us here. And I see three or four motivations here, incentives if you will, for our generosity, that we would be enriched in every way. Say that! Enriched in every way!

Number one, give enthusiastically. Don't give because you have to give or see it as somehow a religious duty, or "If I don't give, God is going to punish me". Give, knowing that God is going to do something great in your heart when you become a generous person! If I'm a miser, I'm miserable. If I sow sparingly, I'm going to reap sparingly, but if I sow bountifully, I will reap in abundance. Remember this, when you think about giving enthusiastically. Are you excited about giving? I know some of you came to church this morning, you're expecting a blessing. You say, "Oh, no!! He's talking about giving"! This ought to excite you! It ought to fire you up! To learn something that will enrich you and your family in every way. So why can I make that claim? How can I make that claim? Get excited, number one, because it pleases God when we give.

Number two, it defeats greed and materialism in my life when I give. When we give it strengthens faith because at times faith - giving is a matter of faith when I don't have the money, and yet I trust God and believe that if I will trust Him with my resources He will meet my requirements and multiply my resources. It is an investment in eternity. I give because I get excited about giving, because it's an investment in eternity. They say you can't take it with you but you can send it on ahead! And the only way I know how to send it ahead is to invest in those things which will last. And the things that I know that are going to last are people and their lives, their souls who need to meet Jesus. So I want to invest in my church.

I'll tell you another reason I'm excited about giving and the reason that we give enthusiastically. It's because it blesses your church and creates community in the family of God! And by that I mean when we give together we can do so much more together than we can individually when we pool our resources. This is one of the great plans of God why we give to our church. We start with our giving to the church. There are many individual things that we could do, but the fact is, when we are together and cooperative and collaborative in our giving, when we bring it all together, we can make an impact for the kingdom and it creates in the church such a fellowship. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also".

You know, when you give to Christ and your church, you know your heart's here, because you follow your investments. You care about your commitments. And therefore, it creates this community of faith that we enjoy. We're blessed to give to and through our church. He promises not only... We're excited because it creates community, but it blesses you in return. You cannot out give God! Then giving makes you more like Jesus. I said that earlier. And then it enables you to partner with God in His mission around the world. You are enriched in every way! No question about it. God blesses generous givers! God wants to prosper you! Being poor is not a virtue. There's a poverty theology that's kind of running through some segments of the church today, and it suggests that what you need to do is strip down yourself from every possession and give it all away.

Well, if it was a blessing to be poor, if it was a virtue to be poor, then you should do that. You should give everything away: your car, your bicycle, your house, your clothes! But you see, poverty is not a virtue. Poverty is poverty. It is what it is, and there are many things in the Bible, we know, about helping the poor but it's not a virtue. There's just as much wrong with the so-called poverty theology as the prosperity theology which says God wants you to be healthy and rich and so on. But in the Word of God it's not health-wealth gospel or theology, it's not a poverty Gospel, but rather, if you want to see God bless your life invest in the kingdom of God, invest in Christ and His church. And get excited about doing it! You know, maybe some time when we pass the offering plates we just ought to slap some high-fives all around and get excited!

Listen to what Psalm 35:27, speaking of high-fives. He says: "Let those who delight in My righteousness shout for joy", there's a high-five, "and be glad and say evermore, great is the Lord who delights in the prosperity of His servants"! Sometimes that word prosperity is translated welfare of his servants; the blessing of His children. And one of my favorite verses, Psalm 84:11, "The Lord God is a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory", that's the way I memorized it, I think that says, "He bestows favor and honor", that's good, too, "and no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly". No good thing! Do you think God is stingy? Do you think God is holding out on you? No! God wants to bless you but you have to sow seed if you're going to expect a harvest! Matthew 3, we'll get there in a minute, "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse and your offerings as well. Prove me in this, test me in this', God says, 'and see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing upon your life that is uncontainable, unrestrainable". And abundant blessing in your life! The open windows of heaven! So give enthusiastically! Get excited about it!

Number two, Paul says we're motivated by the fact that we give joyfully. For verse 7 says, back in 2 Corinthians chapter 9, "God loves a cheerful, a joyful giver". Now let me tell you something, this is a very rare verse in Scripture. In fact you could cover the entire Bible and not find a verse quite like this. God loves a cheerful giver! Now God loves everyone, but that's not what this verse is saying. When it says God loves a cheerful giver it means that there is a special affection that God has for people who give joyfully. The love word here is agape. It's an active verb. It is the deepest, most devoted kind of love, agape love. It's the love of the cross. And he's saying that God loves uniquely with a special love those who cheerfully give. Wow! He amends this by saying not those who give grudgingly with regrets, with buyer's remorse but those who give and are happy about it. God loves a cheerful giver! And if you can't give and be happy about it, you know what God is saying? God is saying "Just keep your money cause I don't need it anyway. Just keep your money".

If you feel like you're giving with regrets or remorse or grudgingly or compliantly without really faith than just keep your money. Or better yet, change your attitude! Ask God to change your heart and give you joy in this. Don't give under compulsion because someone got in your face or twisted your arm or squeezed you. I never want anyone at Prestonwood for those of you listen and watch over PowerPoint, I never want anyone to feel manipulated or pushed or pressured to give. That is an epic fail. Giving should be a blessing, not a burden in your life. And you should never be coerced or put on a guilt trip. Give because you love God and love His church and want to see lives changed. Alright, the third thing, give thoughtfully. Verse 7, look at it again. In chapter 9, 2 Corinthians: "Each one must give as he has decided", that is, it is studied giving, "in his heart".

It's something you think about. We're not to give impulsively. Now there are times I believe we should give sacrificially and over and above our regular giving, and times that we should give spontaneously. Again, don't suppress a generous impulse in your life. So you're prompted to give in your own heart. The Holy Spirit may give you an opportunity to minister grace or give somebody some money or to help someone. I mean, that's spontaneous giving and our hearts should overflow with giving to the Lord like that. But primarily our giving, according to Scripture, should be studied, as we have decided and purposed in our heart. That is, it should be planned giving! Do you know why? Because we plan everything that is important to us. True? If it's important to you, you think about it, you plan it, you study it, and you act based upon the best decision you can make.

In 1 Corinthians 16, go back to 1 Corinthians 16, we're told exactly as Christians how we're to give our money, and it is to be strategic and systematic. Beginning in verse 1, 1 Corinthians 16: "Now concerning the collection for the saints (that's the offering): as I directed the churches of the Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week (What's the first day? The Lord's day... Sunday) On the first day each of you (that's everybody) is to put something aside (that is, you're to save it up, store it up, plan it, and then give it) store it up, as he may prosper you, so that there will be no collecting which I come". So there doesn't have to be a big old push when I come. Now, here's what that says: That says when we give, we give on the first day of the week, we give to and through our church. What meets on the first day of the week? The church! It's talking to the churches.

So we give as God has prospered us. That tells me there's something in there about a percentage. As God has prospered me, I'm to give. So what is the percentage? We don't have to wonder about that, because in Malachi chapter 3 and verse 10 we are told that the percentage is a tithe, which means the first tenth. Not a tenth, but the first tenth! Recognizing the principle of Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you". All the material needs that you have, these things God will add to your life. You say, "Well, Pastor, that's Old Testament. In the Old Testament the first tenth belonged to God, but we're in the New Testament era". How many times have I heard this? "We're in the New Testament era now and everything belongs to God".

Well, let me tell you something! Everything belonged to God in the Old Testament era! And everything belongs to God in the New Testament era, and any era! And any Christian who will not give more under grace than a Jew would give under the Law is a disgrace to grace! Yes, our giving is grace giving! No we're not prompted by law! We are prompted by liberty! We are prompted primarily by love! And love cares enough to plan, to think about it. And so as God has prospered you, on the first day of the week, as you're paid, whether it's monthly, weekly, quarterly, however, you set aside a portion, the first ten percent and then offerings beyond that and bring it to the church and give it. Now that kind of giving produces generosity in your life, and it overflows with praise to God. Jesus not only commended tithing, He commanded it. He said, "This", speaking of tithing, "you ought to have done". He commanded it.

The tithe, the first tenth is just the beginning. It's the floor, not the ceiling of Christian giving. Deb and I want to move far beyond the tithe in our giving because we want to learn more and more how to be generous. That's our goal. So the question is, here's the question: Do you believe in this promise and provision of God? That if you bring the tithe, all of it into the storehouse that He will open the windows of heaven and pour you out an uncontainable blessing. I'm telling you now, I should have told you this at the start. You're under greater accountability now than you've ever been before since you've heard this message. The path to prosperity is giving. Jesus said in Luke 6:38, "Give and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over".

The generous Christian never has to wonder if he will have enough. The generous Christian will never have to wonder if God will meet your needs. He will. He does. It's the lack of generosity that impoverishes so many Christians. Sow generously, reap generously; sow sparingly, reap sparingly. This is the principle and the promise of blessing. God is gracious and generous and wants to bless you. He wants to bless you so that you can earn money and save some money, leave some money for your children, God willing, invest some money and give your money. And He says if you live like that and give like that I'm going to bless your socks off. Now are you a reasonable person? I know you are. Some of you had a little doubt come up on your face right there. If you're a reasonable person, do you agree that everyone who believed the truth of this verse would tithe? Maybe you didn't hear the question clearly.

Do you think it's reasonable to believe that if you believe the promise and the principle of this verse that you would tithe? Sure you would. God says, "Prove me, test me and see if I'll not open the windows of heaven and bless you". I just wonder how many blessings in heaven are stored up, waiting for you, first to ask in prayer, "you have not because you ask not", and other blessings that are in containers, if you will, because God can't bless you because you've cut Him off by being selfish and self-centered with your possessions. I tell you kindly and firmly that you can't afford not to tithe. You say, "Well, I don't have a lot". Well, you especially. If you want to get in on God's miraculous plan of economy, when He supernaturally blesses you and takes care of you in ways you can't understand. Because I've discovered that the nine-tenths with God as my partner goes way more than the ten-tenths on my own!

Now you can do far more with God as your resource than trying to make it on your own. Again, God doesn't need your money. He owns the universe, but He wants your heart. And what God is saying is "I want to increase your faith and strengthen your testimony by making you a generous person". And when you do that, the final words of that passage says that God is able with all sufficiency to make you abound in every good work. The Scripture says excel in the grace of giving. Is this an area in your life where you could honestly say, "I'm excelling in this. I'm excelling. I'm not where I ought to be, I'm sure, but I know that this is my heart and God being my witness, I love to give". He will enrich you in every way.
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