1. Who is the most generous person you know? Not who gives the most?
2. What is the difference between the most generous person and the person who gives the most? (Sometimes we label a person as generous who gives out of their surplus, but really their giving is no sacrifice at all!)
3. Why might a person question someone being generous? (Their attitude. They seem to have so much left over. They talk about it.)
4. What motivates people to be generous toward others? (Love.)
One doesn’t need to be rich to be generous, but one simply must be giving to be generous!
5. When have you seen this to be true? (In Mark 12:41-44 many people were giving their offering in the temple. Among them was a widow who gave all she had and Jesus said she had given more than all of the others had given.)
I’m relatively certain that the most generous Christians give the way Jesus told us to give, so that others may not know they are giving at all!
6. What is the difference in “Tithe” and “Offering”? (Our offering is over and above the tithe God said we are to give to support His kingdom’s work.)
The Lord sometimes can use money to expose the condition of our hearts. For many, riches and wealth are a hindrance to entering the kingdom of God!
The background for our focal passage today deals with the great financial need of the church in Jerusalem. Of course, most of the Christians in Jerusalem were converted Jews. Once they professed Christ as Savior many lost their employment and were ostracized by the Jewish community. The church there seemed to be in deep poverty. As Paul traveled on his missionary journeys he spread the news about how the church in Jerusalem was in such great need. Churches were challenged to give to help them.
Paul had come through Corinth a year or so before this letter was written. The church there had pledged to regularly put back an offering for the church in Jerusalem. It was getting close for the time for Paul and his companions to come collect the offering and take it to Jerusalem. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 Paul tells them that the churches in Macedonia insisted on sending an offering, even out of their “deep poverty”. The church at Corinth was a wealthy church in comparison. Paul didn’t want the church in Corinth to be embarrassed by their small gift, so he urged them to be faithful to their pledge to take up this offering.
There is a huge difference in giving out of one’s poverty and giving out of one’s surplus! From time to time a person or couple comes to a minister with the question: “How much should we give?” No one can answer that question for you. Guidelines can be given but how much you should give is between you and God!
Confidence Expressed! Read 2 Corinthians 9:1-5
1. How did Paul express belief that they would resume their commitment to the offering he was collecting?
Notice that Paul was not criticizing them but encouraging them to keep a commitment they had made to participate in this offering.
2. Do you think Paul had a responsibility to talk to them like this?
3. What did Paul understand about the Corinthian believers’ attitude toward giving? (Paul seemed to believe they were willing to give, so he questioned whether he needed to send a reminder.)
4. Do we ever need reminders about our responsibility in the area of stewardship?
Paul had just provided some practical guidelines on giving to the Corinthian church earlier in the letter (2 Cor. 8:11-15). He helped them understand what to do and what to expect.
5. Why is it important for leaders to hold believers accountable for meeting the needs of others? (Sometimes we are unaware of the needs and we forget our responsibility in this area.)
6. How might we be held accountable today? (Lessons like this. Sermons on giving and stewardship. Sometimes we simply need to open our eyes to the needs around us!)
7. What would you say is the result when we give out of extortion or compulsion or pressure from someone? (It’s not “giving” then and there is no reward for it.)
Benefits Found! Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
1. What are the benefits of giving as God directs?
Paul described giving that is motivated by the gospel. His motivation was not receiving but rather the blessed act of giving itself.
2. How would you explain the correlation Paul made between giving and sowing seed? (If the farmer had a poor crop and decided to use all of the grain to feed his family, there would be no crop the following year because there was no seed grain left for next year’s crop.)
3. Is receiving back for what we give proper motivation for giving?
4. Read Malachi 3:10. Does this verse mean that if we give money we will receive money in return, even more than we gave? (No! The blessings God gives may come in many forms but will always be more than we’ve given! Read 2 Cor. 9:10-11 again.)
5. Read Palms 112:9. How do the words of the psalm support what Paul wrote concerning generous giving?
The PSG makes this doctrine statement about “Stewardship”: “Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.”
6. How does that statement fit in with these verses we just read?
7. For the cheerful giver, which comes first, the gift or the cheer?
8. How is giving a source of cheer?
9. How does a cheerful heart move a person to meet the needs of others?
Read Romans 12:6-8. Here again we are commanded to be generous in our giving!
There are more than 27 passages in the Bible that deal in some way with giving other than 2 Corinthians 8-9!
Paul prayed that God would multiply the money the Corinthians gave and increase the results of their ministry. One of the reasons God blesses believers is so that believers can bless others!
Adoration Gained! Read 2 Corinthians 9:12-15
1. What is the outcome of giving to others under God’s direction? (You will be enriched; thanksgiving to God; supply the needs of the saints; overflows in many acts of thanksgiving to God; glorify God; confession of the gospel; recipients will have a deep affection for you.)
2. How does giving reflect God’s grace? (God uses our gift to Him as a gracious act to meet someone else’s need!)
3. How can giving be an act of worship?
4. How can giving be a means of honoring God?
5. How can the person receiving the gift honor God?
All Christian giving is carried out in light of God’s indescribable gift to us: his Son. Recite John 3:16.
6. In what ways does God’s generosity in the gift of His Son challenge believers to meet the needs of others?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. How is a believer showing their trust in God by using their resources to meet the needs of others?
2. What should be our attitude toward giving to God? (Give from a willing heart, not grudgingly or out of obligation. This will often motivate others to give.)
3. How does our giving impact the needs of people both inside and outside of the church?
4. What are some appropriate ways for us to challenge each other to meet the needs of others in the community and to meet the needs of our church?
5. What adjustments need to be made within our group based on our discussion?
Consider whether you give your tithes and offerings grudgingly or joyfully.
Understand that God will bless you based on the attitude of your heart and not on how much you give!
Close with prayer.
Bible passages that deal with giving:
Deut. 15:10; 16:17
1 Ch. 29:9; 29:14
Ps. 37:4, 21
Prov. 3:9, 27; 11:24-25; 18:16; 21:26; 22:9; 28:27; 31:9
Matt. 6:2-4; 10:8; 19:21
Luke 6:30, 38; 3:11
1 Cor. 13:3