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The Grace Of Giving - Part 3

"Its Biblical Principles - Part 2"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2003 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Now if you have your Bible with you, I want you to turn with me first of all - we have three texts to read from - but first of all to Luke's gospel chapter 6. If you're visiting with us, or perhaps you haven't been out in the last couple of weeks, this is our third study on Sunday mornings on the subject of 'The Grace of Giving'. We've been looking at the responsibilities of the child of God with regards to stewardship, financially speaking specifically. In the first week we looked at the Biblical basis for grace giving, and we began looking right at the beginning of the Old Testament, right back to the book of Exodus, right through as to how Old Testament saints gave. Then we looked at how that was reciprocated in many respects in the New Testament. Then last week - we took a break for Missionary Sunday - but last week we looked at the first two of the Biblical principles with regards to grace giving, and we're going to look at three more today - hopefully the last three, at least as far as I can summarise them for these two weeks. Next week, or not next week, the week after next when I come back God willing, we'll finalise this series with a challenge with regards to our own use of money, and indeed our own stewardship with regards to the work of God.

The Holy Spirit has taken great pains to leave us with a record of how we ought to give, and only when our giving is according to the word of God will our giving be the best giving...

Our first reading is found in Luke 6 and verse 38, and these of course are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, He said: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again". If you want to put a marker into that verse I'm sure it will be beneficial later on, and then Matthew chapter 6 - and of course we spent many weeks studying the Sermon on the Mount, but we want to just interject here in the midst of it where the Lord speaks about almsgiving. Matthew 6, and we'll read verses 1 to 4 - the Lord says, again His own words: "Take heed that ye do not your alms", or your charitable giving, "before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly".

Then one final reading, 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and just one verse again - but remember we spent some time in the first week of our study on this portion, looking at it in great detail, but verse 7 is the only one we want to look at this morning: "[We are to give] Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver".

Let's just bow in a word of prayer and ask the Lord's blessing, and ask for a real sense of His presence, that He may deal with all of us in regards to our giving towards the Lord. Let us pray: Our Father in heaven, we thank Thee that we read in scripture these wonderful truths, that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Our Father, we thank Thee that love was displayed from Thy heart in the fact that You gave the most prized possession that You had. Our Father, no matter how much we give in our lives, even if we give our bodies to be burned, even if it is done in love, we will never know the full extent of the love of God, the love of Thy great heart for us. But yet, our Father, our lives are to be a reflection of that love as we have entered into the wonder of it, and as it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit - therefore our lives should show forth, and rebound, and echo a response of Your love to others. So our Father, we just pray that as we read the word of God that You will bless us, that You will speak to us in a way that we will respond; and that we will analyse our own hearts with regards to the possessions that You have given us, the finances, the wealth - and even like those in Macedonia, that out of our poverty, if that is our situation, that we would even give out of our deep debts of poverty. For we remember that He who was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. So Lord, speak to us now we pray, in Jesus' name, Amen.

I'm led to believe that the feminine admirers of a certain conductor named Arthur Neitzich (sp?) - now, you can give me the proper pronunciation of that if you're classical music fan - but they besieged him so many times that he would give them a lock of his hair. It seemed that he kept cutting his hair over and over again, and responding to these requests, and putting these locks in envelopes and sending them all over the place - so much so that in greatest humour, one of his friends said to him: 'At this rate, my friend, you will soon be bald!'. 'Not I!', expressed Arthur, 'But my dog will!'.

Not only are we affected by giving, not only are others affected, but the very heart of Almighty God is affected by our giving...

Now the matter of grace giving is not just about giving - anyone can give. But we have seen in recent weeks that it has a little bit to do with how much you give, but it's more than that - it's not just that you give, and you give so much, but it's how you give in general to the work of the Lord. For that reason we spent last week and, God willing, this week looking at the principles that are laid down within scripture about how we ought to give. The Holy Spirit has taken great pains to leave us with a record of how we ought to give, and only when our giving is according to the word of God will our giving be the best giving. Only then will it have the greatest effectiveness in the church of Jesus Christ and in the work of the gospel, and only when our giving is according to these biblical principles will the blessing for us be the greatest, and indeed a blessing for those to whom we give.

Now as we're going to see today, not only are we affected by giving, not only are others affected, but the very heart of Almighty God is affected by our giving and the nature of how we give to His work. Now from 1 Corinthians chapter 16, if you want to recall it please do look it up just now, we saw the first two principles - let's remind ourselves of that before we go on any further. Chapter 16 verse 2: 'Upon the first day of the week', we saw that our giving was to be principally a regular thing, we were to give regularly, 'let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him'. Our giving not only was to be regularly, but proportionately - not to the need necessarily, but to our ability, to how God in His providential dealings in our lives has financed us to give to others - how much He has given to us, and we give proportionately out of that whether we are rich or whether we are poor, according to our ability where that is concerned.

Now what we're going to look at this morning from the three texts that we have already read is how, not only our giving us to be regular and proportionate, but we are to give first of all - Luke 6 tells us - bountifully. We are to give liberally, if you like. Then secondly we will see from Matthew 6 that we are to give privately. Then from the third portion of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 9, we are to give, the Bible says, cheerfully.

So let's look at the first of these, really the third principle that we have looked at in these last two weeks. We are to give bountifully - let's look at the verse again, chapter 6 of Luke verse 38: 'Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down', you've to give liberally - it's almost speaking, I think, of grain being pressed down so that you can get the greatest volume, capacity and density and so on - 'shaken together', so there's no spaces, but all those little bits of grain fill up the spaces. In other words, give as much as you can give, 'running over', if it be a liquid, 'into your bosom'. Now in Palestinian days that's where people measured the grain, into the long skirts. You would have turned them up like that, and they would have just poured the grain into your bosom. The Lord is saying: 'Pour in as much as you can, pressed down, shaken together, running over...for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again'.

I'm at pains to make this clear because I'm afraid that perhaps there could be some person among us here that's not a Christian, and you think in some shape or form that by giving financially you can earn credit with God...

We are to give bountifully, now let me just sound a note of caution: that does not mean that if we give more we will have more favour with God. Do not misunderstand what we have been saying in these weeks of studying about financial giving, and I'm at pains to make this clear because I'm afraid that perhaps there could be some person among us here that's not a Christian, and you think in some shape or form that by giving financially you can earn credit with God. Many dear Roman Catholic people believe this, that by giving penance, or even doing good works of all sorts, but particularly financially, they think that they can earn or buy a type of salvation with God - that's not what the Lord Jesus is saying here! Nor is it a health and wealth gospel, that we find in many charismatic and pentecostal circles today, that if you give as much as you can God's going to give you a hundredfold back and you're going to be greatly wealthy, you'll drive big Cadillacs and have big ranches, and you'll be like an oil baron in a Christian sense because of your giving - that is not what the Lord Jesus is saying in this portion. It is not a prosperity gospel, that we all ought to be rich, just as we all ought not to be healthy as we saw last Monday night - it is not in the will of God that all of us should be healed, neither is it in the will of God that all of us should be rich.

We miss out this point when we think that way, and it is what we found last week: that it is God's providential dealings in our lives that enables us to give proportionately. Now an inference from that is: God gives to us that we might give to others. God is not giving to us that we might make ourselves rich, but God - if He gives us more - is doing so that we might give more to the work of God. Now in the light of those cautions, let me just say that what the Lord is saying here - and we must never deny this fact - is that there is a law of the harvest when it comes to giving, especially when we give bountifully to the work of the Lord.

Let me show you this from the third portion that we read in 2 Corinthians chapter 9, let's look at it again, and verse 6: 'But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully'. It is so with sin, that what we sow we reap, but it is so also with righteousness. Now admittedly we could generalise this in the sense of these blessings that we accrue when we give bountifully to be spiritual ones. In fact, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ already, but it is more blessed - our Saviour said - to give than to receive. So we do receive spiritual blessings, but there seems to be an indication that yes, and many of us have found, that when we do give financially we get a blessing back, at times financially.

Even just looking at this in the spiritual realm, what would you rather have? It is more blessed to give than to receive, and you will receive a spiritual blessing by giving bountifully - would you rather have a spiritual blessing or have a bigger bank account? That is a choice that we as Christians have to make: would you rather have inner contentment of knowing that your life is firmly in the will of God, or would you rather have a new holiday or two or three holidays a year? But let me also say, that although there are spiritual blessings, many have found that by giving liberally they are often given back in abundance from God - not to squander on themselves, but to give again to the work of God with a greater capacity. One old preacher put it like this: 'What I have I shovel into God's stores, and He shovels back to me - the difference is that God's shovel is bigger than mine'. That's just, if you like, in a sort of modern day paraphrase, what the Lord Jesus is saying: 'For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again'. If you are liberal towards others, others will be liberal towards you - but better than that, God will be liberal towards you!

So I wonder this morning: do you give, in your giving, bountifully, liberally? The poet put it like this:

'Somehow not only for Christmas, but all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others, is the joy that comes back to you.
The more you spend in blessing the poor, and the lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessions return to make you glad'.

This is not a watertight rule, but you will find, and will have found if you give bountifully, that many many times the Lord gives into your hand even more liberally than you have given!

John Bunyan, the great puritan, called it 'giving's boomerang effect'. 'There was a man', he said, 'though some did count him mad, the more he cast away the more he had!'. Now I'm a great fan of reading biblical biographies, but also of Christian biographies in recent Christian history. We learn so much from them, we see these men in the Bible, like men as we are, of like passions; sinners, yet men whom God worked through. But equally so in Christian history we see it as well, and we learn that great men of God found that when they gave liberally God gave back to them bountifully. The great preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, on one occasion made a trip to Bristol, and he was intending preaching in three of the largest Baptist chapels there. He hoped, from this preaching trip, to accrue 300 pounds which he needed immediately for his orphanage at home in London. The story goes that he got the money, and he retired to bed on the last night of his visit, and he records that he heard a voice, which - to him - was the voice of the Lord, saying these words: 'Give those 300 pounds to George Mueller'. He responded very quickly: 'But Lord, I need it for my dear children in London', and again the words came: 'Give that 300 pounds to Mr Mueller'. And it was only when he said: 'Yes Lord, I will', that sleep came to him. The following morning he went to George Mueller's orphanage, and found Mr Mueller prostrate on his knees with his Bible open before him, praying. The famous preacher, Spurgeon, placed a hand on Mueller's shoulder and said: 'George, God has told me to give you these 300 pounds'. 'Oh', said George Mueller, 'Dear Spurgeon, I have been asking the Lord for that very sum!' - and these two prayerful men rejoiced together. Spurgeon returned to London, and on his desk he found a letter awaiting him; he opened it and found it contained 300 guineas - some of you can remember that...I'm only joking! Then he cried with joy: 'The Lord has returned 300 pounds with 300 shillings interest!'.

Now this is not a watertight rule, but you will find, and will have found if you give bountifully, that many many times the Lord gives into your hand even more liberally than you have given! It is the law of the harvest: if you want to be rich, give; if you want to be poor, grasp. If you want to be needy, hoard; if you want abundance, scatter - because God has said: 'I am Jehovah-Jireh, God Thy Provider, and I am no man's debtor'. Oh, if we could remember this in our giving: that if we gave bountifully we would receive bountiful spiritual, and yes even at times temporal, blessings.

That is the first principle, or the third if you like over these last two weeks. Then there is the fourth - not only are we to give bountifully, but we are to give privately. If you turn to Matthew, to the second reading, Matthew chapter 6 - I'm not going to go into this in too much detail because we spent some time on it several months, or maybe it's even years ago now, and you can get the tape in the tape room. But this verse is often commonly quoted by folk - it's verse 3 of chapter 6: 'But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth'. He said in the previous verse: 'Don't sound a trumpet'. You see, what used to happen was these religious men - Jesus called them hypocrites, Pharisees and Scribes - when they were going to do a charitable deed there was a man walked in front of them with a trumpet. There was a great procession, they blew a fanfare as they walked, they wanted to attract a crowd so that people would witness what they were going to do in religious action.

The Lord Jesus says that is not how you have to give, but you have to give privately. C.H. Spurgeon who I mentioned earlier said: 'To stand with a penny in one hand, and a trumpet in the other, is the posture of hypocrisy'. We must make sure that our giving is not, as Jesus said, to be seen of men. The poet put it well:

'I did a favour yesterday,
A kindly little deed,
And then I called to all the world
To stop and look and heed.

They stopped and looked and flattered me
In words I could not trust.
And when the world had gone away,
My good deed turned to dust'.

Jesus is saying that if you are giving to have this praise of men, the pat on the back of men, to be seen of the audience of the crowd - you have your reward!

Jesus is saying that if you are giving to have this praise of men, the pat on the back of men, to be seen of the audience of the crowd - you have your reward! In other words, what you're giving will not come back to you in an eternal day, but your account is closed - nothing will go forward to heaven for a blessing to you in reward. If that is why you're giving, to be seen of men, you have your receipt in full today. The word 'hypocrite' is, in Greek, simply the word 'actor'. What Jesus is saying is: if you're an actor in your giving, you will get actor's wages - what is actor's wages? It is the applause of the crowd, nothing more and nothing less.

So what is the Lord Jesus saying here? Is He saying that it is wrong to give openly all the time? Now this is very important, because there are so many misunderstandings with many Scriptures as we know, but particularly with this one with regards to giving. I hear people time and time again saying to me: 'You're not to let the right hand know what the left hand is doing' - and therefore no-one should ever know, under any circumstances, what you give to the Lord's work. Can I say, categorically, that is not biblical! It is not biblical! Because, when we go to the book of Acts, we find that Barnabas had given his income from the sale of his land - Acts chapter 4 - and it is recorded there that the whole church knew about this, and he gave it to them for their finances. We read also that when the members of the church laid their money at the apostles' feet it was not done in secret, everyone knew about it. The difference where this was concerned was that their motive was not to be seen of men, the manner in which they gave was not blowing a trumpet that others would see them and that they would have the applause of humanity. The contrast to this can be seen in Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5 - they tried to use their gift to make people think that they were more spiritual than they really were - but their sin was not in a public confession of what they were giving, but the problem was their motive was to be seen of others even though they were robbing the Holy Spirit back.

So the Lord is not saying that it is always wrong to give when people know you're giving, or even know what you're giving, the Lord is saying: 'You must guard your motives at all times with your giving, and if it is possible do it in private, in secret, because that's the best way to guard your motives'. It doesn't refer to giving to the assembly for the various causes, for in 2 Corinthians 7 verses 1 to 5 - we don't have time to look at - Paul boasted of the Macedonian collection to the Corinthians. He mentioned it! In chapter 8 he says of the Corinthian collection to the Macedonians that it had to be liberal, he mentions the liberality of it, even the actual amount of it. He's not referring now to the individual, he's referring to the responsibility of the church.

So what is the Lord saying? He's saying - this is His main point: beware, for you can preserve your anonymity from other people, yet the bottom line is that your motives can be wrong. Your motives, no-one in the world might know what you're doing in your giving, but your motives may be wrong! Look at verse 3: 'let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth'. Now, does it say - maybe you've got a different version than me - does it say: 'let not thy left hand know what another man's right hand does', is that what it says? Or 'let not another man's left hand know what thy right hand doeth'? It says your left hand knowing what your right hand does! It's not talking about what other people know about your giving, it's talking about what you know about it! It almost is saying: 'Keep your giving secret to yourself' - in other words, don't be taking any pride in it! Even if no-one else knows, you can give yourself a secret pat on the back inside, can't you? 'Well done, that was good'.

It almost is saying: 'Keep your giving secret to yourself' - in other words, don't be taking any pride in it!

So the question is not the Lord saying that it hasn't to be known abroad, and we believe that that is part of it, but His main point is saying that even though no-one might know what you're doing when you're signing that cheque, your heart might be thinking: 'What a great Christian I am, what a great giver!'. What is important is not what the hand is writing, but what the heart is thinking! Do you see it? In other words, not only are we to keep our giving as far as possible from others, but it ought to be secret from ourselves. We ought to not be self-conscious of giving, because that self-consciousness will rapidly deteriorate into self-righteousness - as one biblical scholar said: 'It is possible to turn an act of mercy into an act of vanity', and that's what these Pharisees were doing!

Now can I say: people have a field day with the Sermon on the Mount, but this command cannot be obeyed literally. How can you not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, unless you keep your eyes closed when you're writing the cheque or putting your hand into the wallet - maybe it would be better if some of you did keep your eyes closed when you did that, we'd get more. But the point is: you're to guard your giving, not only from the praise of men, but from self-commendation - it's got to do with the attitude of the heart. The answer therefore, what the Lord is saying is: you ought to give secretly, and when you give you ought to forget about it! Don't summon to your mind what you gave to the Lord last week, and think that that in some kind of way overflows over into this week, and think - gloating over it - 'What a great fellow or girl I am for what I have given'! The Lord is saying, in all these realms in the Sermon on the Mount, it's all about motive: do good until it's an unconscious habit in your life that you're doing it, and you don't even know that you're doing it! When you do it like that, it will not be brought to your attention - you'll not be saying: 'Oh, look at me Lord. I must agree with You, I'm such a great fellow in what I'm giving'. When the Lord comes to you and says: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant', we will not say: 'Yes, Lord, I am wonderful, aren't I? I did give so much!' - but we will be like those that the Lord spoke of, when He said: 'When ye saw me hungered, ye fed me; when ye saw me thirsty, you give me a drink; insomuch as ye have done it unto the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me'. What did they say? 'When did we see Thee in hunger, when did we see Thee thirsty and naked' - they had done good and they didn't even know they had done it, because they had even done it secretly to themselves!

Oswald Chambers says: 'Get into the habit of having such a relationship to God that you do good without knowing you do it'. The problem with many of us is that you don't know the good giving that you're doing, simply because you're not doing it at all. Give bountiful, give privately - not just to others, but privately to yourself - and thirdly and finally, give cheerfully. Second Corinthians chapter 9 verse 7, let's read it once again: 'Every man give according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver'.

That great American writer, Mark Twain, on one occasion asked his neighbour to borrow a book, and his un-obliging neighbour said: 'I never lend books, but you're welcome to read it here if you want'. Later when the neighbour requested the use of Twain's lawnmower, he told him: 'Certainly, but you'll have to use it here if you want'! You see, if you give grudgingly, if you give grudgingly it has the potential of restricting the effect of your giving on you - you're not getting the full extent of your blessing that you could have. It says 'God loves a cheerful giver', the Greek word could be translated 'an hilarious giver' - a person who scatters hilariously their finances, of course proportionately, but it's suggesting the joy which leaps over all restraints in your giving. Not giving out of a sense of duty or prestige, but giving because you have to because your heart's so full of joy in the Lord that you just can't help it!

Give bountiful, give privately - not just to others, but privately to yourself - and thirdly and finally, give cheerfully...

Did not the Lord say - remember He said it - 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'? You see, you can be motivated, you can be the best giver in this fellowship, and yet motivated by a wrong motive. It could be a sense of duty: 'I have to give this' - I hope we got rid of the thought of giving a tithe in the last study, but whatever your amount is you might feel: 'I have to give that', or 'I have to give a little bit more', or 'I have to give out of a sense of duty'. That is a wrong motive with regards to grace giving - it's like the man in Glasgow who bailed drunks out of prison on a Sunday so that they wouldn't lose their job on Monday - a great charitable act that was, only he insisted that they gave half a crown back to him in their next wage. With all his giving to these people, he didn't give himself. We saw in our first week that the Macedonians gave themselves first, and then there was no problem in what they were giving, they could do it joyfully because the Lord owned them, so the Lord owned their pocket.

You could be giving out of a motive of prestige, we mentioned that in Matthew 6 - glory to be thanked and praised of men - or are you giving because your Christlike heart can do nothing else, you can't help it! You have to give to the Lord, for He has given so much to you! I'm sure you've heard that expression: 'You're worth your weight in gold' - I'm forever hearing it! But during a long imprisonment the Duke of Brittany made a vow that if he ever got out and got liberty, he would give to the church of Notre Dame his weight in gold - I don't know, perhaps that's where we get the expression from. When he was released he placed himself on the scales, literally, and he was clad in his war armour. He had the opposite scales piled with gold until it attained his literal weight with all his armour on! The opposite of that was Don Carlos, the son of Philip the Second of Spain, for when he lay ill he vowed to give, on his recovery, his weight in gold to the Virgin Mary. When he was restored to full health and strength, the Prince placed himself on one side of the scale - but he wasn't in his armour, he was clad in damask and in fur.

You see, when love gives, it does not count the cost. It doesn't limit the giving, because love giving, grace giving is cheerful, hilarious giving! There are three kinds of givers: there are the flints - not the Flintstones - the flints; the sponges; and the honeycombs. To get anything out of a flint you must use a hammer, and you've to hammer it and hammer it and hammer it, and then all you get is chips and sparks - and it gives away nothing if it can help it, it's a painful giving, and it has a lot of display for when they finally let go of what they believe is theirs they want everybody to know about it! Are you like the flint? Then there's the sponge, you have to squeeze them - it's good-natured, mind you, but it yields to pressure, and it must be pressurised. The more it's pressed the more it gives, and the more it gives the more it's blessed and the more useful it becomes. Are you a sponge? You have to be pressed, you have to be pushed - listen: Paul is talking not about flints or sponges, but about honeycomb. Honeycomb takes delight in giving without being asked at all, it just overflows with sweetness! That is the way the child of God is to give - why? Because we are told: 'Freely have ye received, therefore freely give'!

Does your giving equate with grace giving? Is your giving regular? Is it proportionate? Is it bountiful? Is it private? And is it cheerful?

I'm led to believe that John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher, when he bestowed a gift or rendered anyone a service, he lifted his hat as though he were receiving instead of conferring some kind of obligation that was his - it was such a blessing that he lifted his heart! We're not going to do this one, but a pastor in America got his congregation, when the offering plate was going round, whenever they gave - if they gave cheerfully - to whistle a tune as the plate went round. The whole place erupted because everybody was ashamed, they were all sponges, they had to be pressed. The fact of the matter is: we should be whistling, we should be singing in our hearts as we're giving - that's what the Lord is saying: 'The Lord loves a cheerful giver'.

Now why is this the fact? It's because He gave like this! Is that not it? Did we not read in 2 Corinthians 9 two weeks ago that He who was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich? We're to give like God, Paul is saying! God gives us regularly, does He not? He does give us proportionately, proportionately to His riches - what does Paul say in Philippians? 'My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus' - that is infinite! Does He not give us bountifully? Such a verse says the same: 'Seeing therefore He has given His only Son for us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us' - what? - 'all things'!

I say this cautiously: but did not the Lord Jesus Christ give Himself cheerfully for us? Oh yes, the cross, we cannot plumb the depths of all the agony and afflictions of our Saviour - but let us never forget that the Bible says we are to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down on the right hand of the throne of God. It was for joy, and even in His obedience to the Heavenly Father in going to Calvary, He set His face as a flint for the joy!

Do we give like God? I know we could never. Answer the question that this poet asks as we close:

'Do you give as you would if an angel awaited your gift at the door?
Give as you would if tomorrow found you when giving was o'er?
Give as you would to the Master if you met His loving look?
Give as you would of your substance if His hand the offering took?'

Does your giving equate with grace giving? Is your giving regular? Is it proportionate? Is it bountiful? Is it private? And is it cheerful? For it blesses the heart of God - not just the giver and the given, but the very heart of Almighty God! He loves you, a special love, for the cheerful giver. I wonder are you enjoying that love today? Sometimes we don't like to talk about money, but the fact of the matter is: God has given us whatever we have - do you acknowledge that? Therefore we are responsible as stewards to give to Him, and to give to the work of the gospel. The question is: are we doing it according to these principles? Not our own, or somebody else's, but according to the guidelines that He has given to us - and we will not know the blessings of this realm until we do.

Father, we do look upon this subject grudgingly at times, and too often our giving reflects that. Forgive us for not seeing the great blessing that there is in giving to God, and our Father help us, we pray, to plunder the depths and realise the blessings that there are because our Saviour has told us it is more blessed to give than to receive - and how we have received so many blessings, we can't even count them! Lord, how many blessings have we received in giving? May we be a people known before God as those who are chiefly blessed, not as recipients, but as givers. We thank Thee most of all that we have a great example, the ultimate example in our Saviour who loved us and give Himself for us. In His name we pray, Amen.

Don't miss Part 4 of "The Grace Of Giving" study series: "The Biblical Challenge"

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
November 2003
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the third tape in his "The Grace Of Giving" study series, titled "Its Biblical Principles - Part 2" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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