Matthew R. Perry

Being Good Stewards of our Finances, Part II: Be Sincere With Them

In Finances on August 21, 2007 at 4:05 pm

(To listen to this sermon in its entirety, click here.)

Look with me at 2 Corinthians 8:8. “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.” In 2 Corinthians 8:7, Paul tells the Corinthian church to follow the example of the Macedonian church — “see that you excel in this act of grace also.” But what was Paul doing? Here, Paul admonishes them to put into action what they have seen to show that what they are doing is from the heart and not only out of duty.

How does Paul compel them? Does he simply say, “Do this because it’s the right thing to do” and simply appeal to our fleshly strength to accomplish something of this magnitude? Does he simply this by appealing to his own authority as an apostle of Christ to leverage them to do this deed? Sadly, many pastors and leaders in the church only go this far and no farther. They promote God as simply a motivational speaker or as a hard judge who will ‘get them’ if they don’t do this.

Paul takes a different track — look at 2 Cor. 8:9-11:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. [10] And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.

What do we see here? We see that Paul does not appeal to the Corinthians’ personal strength nor does Paul simply appeal to his authority with a “because-I-said-so” mentality. He says to them, “Look at Jesus!” Every preacher of the Word must do this — not simply say, “Do what I say because I say it.” Nor should we be like so many of our kids’ materials say, “Be like Jesus. Do like Jesus.” We can’t do that in our own strength apart from the Spirit’s guidance.

Jesus was rich, full of glory in heaven. And remember when we looked at John 17 when Jesus said, “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). Jesus, being fully God shared his Father’s glory. Yet, he became poor. Don’t forget about that crucial hymn Paul wrote in Philippians 2 where Jesus, though fully God, “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” Philippians 2:7). Through Jesus willingly giving up his riches to become poor, we were able, as Philippians 4:19, to have all the riches that God supplies in the glories of Christ Jesus.

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