COMMUNITY GROUP OUTLINE – Wimberley; week of 4.26.15 STEWARDS RUS, Pt. 3, “No Fear” (Tip: have the best reader read the passage) 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 New International Version (NIV) Generosity Encouraged 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10 [a] Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (You might begin “The Word” time of the group with this background from the Intervarsity Press Commentary) Teaching Point: In verses 8-14 Saint Paul identifies four beneficiaries of “charitable” giving: the giver (verses 8-11), the recipients (verse 12), God (Verses 11-12) and the church, (verses 13-14). Note that the giver benefits. God’s response to generosity is to make all grace abound to the giver. The reference means that God’s unmerited favor rests on those who give generously. Question: What form does God’s favor take – is Saint Paul thinking of spiritual benefits or material blessings? Teaching Point: The focus in the context is clearly on material blessings. Yet Paul could well be thinking of all the benefits we receive from God. Inherent in the term grace is the idea that whatever we possess, be it physical or spiritual, we possess by reason of God’s goodwill toward us, not because of personal merit. QUOTES FROM THE SUNDAY TALK ON APRIL 26, 2015 “…a steward is a person who handles things that belong to someone else.” 2 “God sees all our stuff very differently from the way we tend to see our stuff. He sees everything that we own as a Tool (to accomplish his work in the world) – he sees everything we own as a Test (of our faithfulness)– and everything we own as a Trademark – how we manage our stuff shows to whom we really belong.” “…could we just be honest about something for a minute. For those of us who are guilty of thinking “you know I would do more but I’m just afraid. I’m not a greedy person – it’s not that I don’t believe God – it’s not that I don’t really trust God, it’s just that I’m always looking at scenarios that might happen and in light of what might happen I just can’t give the way I ought to give.” Question: Do you ever get anxious about finances? Anyone want to share a time of great financial anxiety? Teaching Point: Isn’t there something just a little bit hypocritical about a Christian who says, “God I’m too afraid and I’m too insecure and I feel like I’ve got to build security and build security and build security – God I feel I need to build security by not giving and then when I need resources I say, “O God, O God, O God – isn’t there a little something wrong with that picture and yet don’t all of us do that at times?” From the Sunday message: “Saint Paul says those who sow generously financially will reap generously and those who sow sparingly – and the Greek word there for sparingly really means miserly – can expect a very small crop. Here’s the principle – if you want God involved in your finances but if you’re not sure what’s going to happen because what if – what if – what if – what if – Paul says this, “The smartest thing you can do is to begin sowing because sowing is an invitation for God to get involved in the arena of your finances and once he’s there you don’t have to be afraid anymore – the reason we fear is because we can’t control circumstances and we can’t control God and God says, “Look I know the future and you don’t and the way you involve me upfront is by sowing seed – you give and as you give it will be returned back to you. So you say, does this mean I could get rich – no, this isn’t about getting rich. We’re going to see what this means in a minute – if you’re here and you’re thinking goody goody goody – I give money and get money back – this isn’t for you. I’m talking to the person this morning who’s a believer and who stands on the edge and says I believe everything belongs to God. I believe I’m to be a good steward and I would really like to take the plunge. I would really like to jump in – I would really like to live my life like everything belongs to God and be a generous giver – a percentage giver above and beyond what I’ve ever done before, but I’m just a little bit afraid – God says, “Look it’s like sowing seed – the thing you need to fear is not giving – the thing you need to fear is refusing to sow because what happens to the farmer who says if I sow these seeds I won’t have them anymore – what happens to the farmer who says, “I want a big crop but I’m afraid that if I put all my seed in the ground I won’t have any more seed. You’ll never hear a farmer say that. There is no benefit to the farmer in hoarding seed - the best thing a farmer can do is plant as much seed as he or she possibly can. How much should we give? However much you decide to give. It’s fine. That’s what it says right here in the Bible – you just give however much you decide to give but then notice what he says, “Not reluctantly – or under compulsion for God loves (and some of you have heard this before) God loves a cheerful giver” – he is setting up a contrast between planned giving and impulsive giving.) Question: How much are we supposed to give? Question: If you’re on a giving plan, would you be willing to tell the group how you got started and how that’s going for you? 3 From the Sunday message: “Saint Paul explains the purpose – the why behind planned giving and listen before you look ahead - this is so important - He explains why in the world God would allow the law of the harvest to apply to giving and it has far more to do with God than it does with you and I – because as we find out – we are simply tools - instruments through which God is funding his work all around the world – he goes on in Verse 8 “And God – (this would be when you are sticking with what you’ve planned to give) and God is able (let me tell you what God is able to do if he chooses to) three things – to make all grace abound to you (get this) so that in all things – at all times – having all that you need – you will abound in every good work – literally it says that you may have an abundance for every good deed – look at that again – he says “In light of what you’re going to do – in light of what God has promised – God is able to make all grace abound to you so that – in all things – at all times –I will have all I need. God’s goal is to fund his work in this world (money fuels ministry)– now if you were God (scary thought) if you were God – and this explains the law of the harvest – if you were God whose wealth would you replenish? Those who are spending it on themselves and saying God I’m afraid, I’m afraid, I’m afraid – or would you replenish the wealth of those who say, “Everything in heaven and earth belongs to you - wealth and honor come from you alone – you are the ruler of all humankind – everything I have is yours and I want to get as much of my stuff in circulation for your kingdom as possible.” Now the question that begs to be asked is, “So what are we worried about? What are we scared of – why are we afraid – basically it comes down to – can you trust God – you trusted him for your salvation –why not just trust him by taking big handfuls of seed and go GOD I don’t want to be a little two finger sower anymore God – I want to see you get involved in a major way in this area of my life. In verse 8, Saint Paul says the point of our resources being replenished after we have given is so that we, in turn, can abound in every good work. Money is given not to be hoarded but to promote good. John Bunyan wrote, “A man there was and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.” Bunyan was writing of The Christian in his story. To the world such a principle of giving is nonsense. But to Paul it is a reality of the Christian life. We must observe what Paul does not say. He does not say that wealth or surplus income is a sign of God’s blessing. Nor is it that given per se that is applauded. It is rather, a lifestyle of generosity that Paul commends. Question: What does this statement say to you: God’s faithfulness and your faith connect at this level. We’ve heard the Bible story, Would anyone be willing to give a personal example?
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