Bible Study – Productive (5) – Work Your Plan –
March 30, 2014
This is lesson five (5) in our series entitled
“Productive: Finding Joy in What We Do.”
Our focus scripture is 2 Corinthians 9:6-13.
Our generous giving should glorify GOD and reflect
CHRIST’S willful giving of HIS life, through the shedding of HIS blood to pay
for the penalty of sin. When those who have been redeemed by HIS shed blood recognize,
acknowledge and understand that CHRIST did for them what they cannot do for themselves,
it results in grateful hearts.
Work provides the opportunity for Christians and
non-Christians alike to have the means to sustain themselves and to give too
others. Our focus has been upon Christian giving. Christians give to those in
need and to spread the Gospel of CHRIST.
Christians generally give to support financially and
physically, the organizations and institutions that spread the Good News of
JESUS CHRIST and reach out to others in need. In turn, those organizations generally
provide the infrastructure to teach, train, equip and provide the opportunity for
Christians to go into the world to share CHRIST with others. JESUS commanded
Christians to go into the world. The world is where any Christian is at any given
moment. GOD issues specific calls to some Christians to obediently serve HIM in
special ways but all Christians are called to obedient service.
Christians are the light of the world and the salt
of the earth because they have the light of CHRIST in them. They contain the
Good News of salvation through faith in CHRIST. They are assured that they
serve their risen Savior which is confirmed and guaranteed by the indwelling Holy
Our focus for the past two lessons began with 2
Corinthians 8:1-9 where we considered the power for giving. Our scripture for
last week’s study was 2 Corinthians 8:10-15 and 9:1-5 focused on the process of
giving from the heart in proportion to our ability. This week’s lesson focuses
on the Spiritual and physical results of giving as led by the Holy Spirit.
Faithful giving, as led by the Holy Spirit, not only
benefits those in need but rekindles the joy in the hearts of those being
obedient in their giving. It continues the building of the intimate and loving
relationship with GOD through CHRIST which began the day of our salvation. GOD
loves obedience and obedience honors GOD.
This week’s lesson continues with the remaining
portion of scripture from last week’s lesson, where Paul continued his message
on the principle of giving as we read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
with the Right Attitude:
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:
this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the
person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person
should do as he has decided in his heart —not reluctantly or out of
necessity, for God loves a
As you recall from last week’s lesson, the
Christians in Corinth had promised to provide a generous gift to support the needy
Christians in Jerusalem. The Christians in Jerusalem were dealing with a famine
and lack of jobs because they were Christians. Paul wanted the Christians in
Corinth to finish their commitment to provide support to them.
Christians cannot out give GOD. We often think of
financial reward when we give as led by the Holy Spirit but that is mute compared
to building the right relationship with HIM through obedient service.
In this scripture, Paul used a farming principle. Simply
the more a person sows, the more he or she will harvest. The key is to pray
about what you need to sow and how much. Once sowed, there are many factors
which determine the harvest. Most results of a harvest are beyond the control
of the sower and in the hands of GOD. The harvest provides means for the farmer,
who in turn provides jobs and the opportunity to give to those in need. As the
farmer obediently gives, GOD in turn blesses him or her materially and/or
Spiritually. Walking with GOD is always a learning experience and does not
always mean smooth sailing. But GOD walks with us and is in control.
Christians must keep in mind that GOD does not look
at the quantity but the attitude of their hearts when they give and their obedience.
JESUS said it best in Mark 12:41-44:
41 Sitting across from the temple treasury, He
(JESUS) watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people
were putting in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny
coins worth very little. 43 Summoning His disciples, He said to them, “•I
assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple
treasury. 44 For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty
has put in everything she possessed —all she had to live on.”
Giving from our financial resources is part of Christian
giving but Christians are to give their time, abilities and Spiritual gifts as
led by the Holy Spirit. They are the arms, legs and physical presence of CHRIST
and GOD when they minister to others – fellow Christians or those in need, regardless
of their relationship to CHRIST.
Christians are to minister as led by the Holy
Spirit. Ministering to others can reveal CHRIST to those who do not know HIM as
their Savior. Yes, there are those who know how to work the system. That is why
Christians need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Do you recall this occasion recorded in Acts 3:1-11:
1 Now Peter and John went up together into the
temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame
from his mother's womb was carried, whom they
laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of
them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go
into the temple asked for alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with
John, said, Look on us. 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive
something of them. 6 Then Peter said,
Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the
right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones
received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them
into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people
saw him walking and praising God: 10 And they knew that it was he which sat for
alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and
amazement at that which had happened unto him. 11 And as the lame man which was
healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch
that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
Think about this event. This man was alive, crippled
since birth and sat for alms most likely when JESUS went into the temple during
HIS earthly ministry. Yet, GOD did not lead JESUS to heal the man. JESUS was
obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. If you read further in this
scripture, GOD had a purpose in JESUS waiting. GOD had a plan and purpose in
the healing of this man because it ministered to so many others after the
passion of CHRIST. Waiting upon the leadership of the Father through the
leading of the Holy Spirit is challenging. Most of us have the nature such that
when we see the need, we respond.
Christians have more to give than material
Look at verse 7, “every person should do as he or
she decides.” Once a person decides what and how much to give, the next step is
action. A person’s action is NOT to be reluctant or out of necessity. Just
giving for the sake of giving does not impress GOD. HE already owns it all and
Christians are HIS stewards of a portion. GOD’S desire is for Christians to
target their giving as HE directs.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 9:8-9:
8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to
you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in
every good work. 9 As it is written:
He scattered; He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.
When Christians give obediently, GOD makes every
grace to overflow to them. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace cannot be earned but
it is a free gift from GOD.
Verse 8 in the King James translation uses “always
having all sufficiency in all things” where the Holman translation has “always
having everything you need.” The word “sufficiency” carries the idea of “a mind
contented with its lot. Contentment with what we have and our position in life
is a blessing that can come only from our relationship with GOD through CHRIST.
When we are content, we do not have to have stuff
just to have stuff. When we live content, we live on less so we can have more to
give to others.
Contentment does not take away a Christian’s
ambition, instead he or she lives according to the leadership of the Holy
Spirit. When Christians are in the right relationship with GOD through CHRIST,
they are in HIS perfect will. When a Christian is in the will of GOD, he or she
has the peace that passes all understanding and trust GOD to meet his or her
The Apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 112:9 in verse 9:
9 He (the righteous person) distributes freely
to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. His • horn will be
exalted in honor.
GOD is the example of Christians – HE scattered; HE
gave to the poor; HIS righteousness endures forever. The righteous person’s
heart is in harmony and relationship with GOD which governs his or her actions.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 9:10-11:
10 Now the One (GOD) who provides seed for the sower
and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest
of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity,
which produces thanksgiving to God through us.
GOD made the seeds which produce the product or
fruit, which in turn provides substance for humans. If HE can do what mankind
cannot do, then HE can multiply the harvest of the sower. A Christian’s part is
to trust and obey. Obedient giving defies human logic when it is done according
to GOD’S will and glorifies HIM.
Paul makes a beautiful correlation to GOD
multiplying the physical harvest to increasing the harvest of righteousness. He
used a statement from Hoses 10:12:
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves and reap
faithful love; break up your unplowed ground. It is time to seek
the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you
like the rain.
As the Christians in Corinth used their physical resources
to meet the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem, GOD increased the harvest of
their righteousness. When Christians empty themselves of the things that cause
them to hold back or compromise their trust in GOD, they make room for HIM to
occupy more of them. They are becoming more like CHRIST which is GOD’S goal for
every Christian. The major war that needs to be won in the lives of Christians
is allowing the Holy Spirit to rule the flesh.
Let’s read 2 Corinthians 9:12-15:
12 For the ministry of this service is not only
supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of
thanksgiving to God. 13 They will glorify God for your obedience to the
confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with
them and with others through the proof provided by this service. 14 And they
will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the
surpassing grace of God in you. 15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
Paul addressed the benefits of finishing what a
person has been called to accomplish. In this case, the Christians in Corinth
were called and eagerly responded at first to collect gifts to meet the needs
of the Christians in Jerusalem but they had failed to complete their goal. They
needed to complete their commitment because the Christians in Jerusalem were
depending upon their gifts. Plus accomplishing their goal would bring glory to
GOD, JESUS and encourage others both Christians and non-Christians. The
faithfulness of the Christians would be a positive witness to non-Christians. The
Christians in Jerusalem will rejoice and be encouraged because GOD has
ministered to them through fellow Christians in Corinth. Meeting the needs of
others brings glory to GOD and hope to those in need. When needs are met by
fellow Christians, the Spiritual body is functioning in unity with GOD.
When we are facing difficult times, it is
encouraging and brings hope to us when fellow Christians respond to our need.
It is Spiritually uplifting and encouraging.
It is tough to wait upon the leadership of the LORD.
Verse 15 puts into perspective the motivation for
Christians to give.
GOD allowed HIS Only Son, JESUS, to come to earth to
live and give HIS life for the redemption of those who will place their faith
in HIM. HIS shed blood paid, in full, the debt every human owes as the result
of sin and its consequence, eternal death. Salvation is a free gift no human
can earn by his or her own effort or merit. When we consider the unspeakable
gift of CHRIST, our gifts pale in comparison to HIS gift and the un-measureable
blessings of GOD’S sustaining grace to those who place their faith in HIM and
obediently serve HIM. Blessings!!!