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“How God Meets Our Needs”
2 Corinthians 9:6-13
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One of the great promises in the Bible is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV)
But I know that there are many who say they have needs that haven’t been met, like physical needs, financial, social, and spiritual needs. They say, “If God shall supply all our needs, why aren’t mine being met?”
When this question starts becoming our fall back position, that is, when we start quoting it from memory, then we have a faith problem, because this has nothing to do with God and His ability, but it has everything to do with our faith and trust in God, faith and trust that He knows what He is doing and what we need and what is best for our lives.
Therefore, before we can even get started, there is something we must get settle in our minds and hearts, and that is, it’s not God’s fault. God is holy, righteous, and just. The Bible says that there is no evil or evil intent in God nor is there any variation or tuning (James 1:17), and that all His promises in Christ Jesus are yes and true (2 Corinthians 1:20).
If that is then the case, then how do we answer the question that if God desires to supply all our needs, why do we have so many needs? The answer is that with many of God’s promises there are premises, that is, there’s a condition to be met. God says, “If you will do this, then I will do that.” These are known as the “if – then” promises of God.
We see this in the verse that is often quoted in our desire to see a revival in our land, but rarely is this verse ever followed. It is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The problem why we aren’t seeing it fulfilled is that we’re not fulfilling our part.
Today I’d like to share with you what the Bible says about how God meets our needs, but let me begin with the premise that God said He’ll supply our needs, not our greeds.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s look at how the Apostle Paul spells this out for us starting with the principle, that is, what God wants us to do. Next is the procedure, that is, how are we to go about doing it. And finally there’s the promise, and all of these can be found in this remarkable passage found in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians church.
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men” (2 Corinthians 9:6-13)
Have a Need; Plant a Seed
“But this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NKJV)
When a farmer looks at a barren field and wants to have a crop, he doesn’t just talk about it, nor does he complain that there is no crop. Instead he begins to plant seed. In other words, until the farmer sows some seeds, no crop is ever going to grow.
To have a harvest we have to first plant. Until we sow the seeds of faith we’ll never harvest God’s blessing.
Say we have two farmers in debt. They both have a sack of seeds. One farmer says, “This is all the seed I have, so I’m not going to plant any of them, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
The other farmer says, “The only way I’m going to get out of debt is to spread out this seed so that it can bring back more.” That’s this principle in a nutshell.
And that’s because giving is a test of faith. It sounds nuts, I know. It’s like if we don’t have enough how is giving it away going to solve our problem. That sounds illogical. But the answer is found in what the Lord says in Isaiah 55:8-9. He said that His ways and thoughts are not like ours. In fact, He says that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so our His ways and thoughts higher than ours.
Therefore, this principle of giving is God’s way of increasing our faith.
I always remember what I heard Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel denomination, say about this. He said that when we give to others, God will give back to us even more.
Now, compare the two ways of thinking, God’s way and our way. The way we think is that when we find ourselves in debt, we need to borrow from a lender, or charge it on our credit card. If we can’t afford it, then charge it, and delay the inevitable.
The other way we try to get ourselves out of debt is to work harder, take a second job, work overtime, or in the case of some, get involved in illegal activities.
But God says, “That’s not my plan.” Yes we are to work hard, and the Bible says that a person who doesn’t provide for their family is worse than an infidel. But God’s plan is when we have a need sow some seed. The more seed we sow, the bigger the harvest will be. Sow a little, reap a little; sow a lot, reap a lot. So, when we have a need, we need to plant a seed.
Many say, “When I get out of debt, then I’ll start to give.” But very few do, because they always seem to find themselves needing more, no matter what that might be, or they’re in a constant state of being in and out of debt.
But in God’s plan He says, “Start to give and I’ll help you get out of debt.” And when we follow God’s plan, which begins with the tithe, then our statement of faith that we make to our friends and family is that we believe in God and His word.
And something else I’ve found to be true, and that’s if we think we have a better plan, and think that we can figure it out on our own, then God will let us. But we cannot expect God to bless our plans and our ways when they counter His plans and His ways.
This principle of sowing and reaping, however, is not just in the area of finances, but it extends to every area of our lives. Whatever we give out, that is what we’ll receive back. If we give out love, then love will be returned. But if we sow anger and criticism, then that’s exactly what we can expect in return.
And here’s the really interesting part of this principle. Whatever we give out, not only will we receive it back, but we will also receive back more besides, or one seed planted produces thousands more in return.
Whatever we need, first give it away. Think of it in terms of physical exercise. When we give energy away in exercise, then we build up the ability to have more energy later on. The only way to build muscle is to use that muscle.
Jesus reiterates this principle in the salvation message when he said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25 NKJV)
And so, the principle out of God’s word is that when we have a need, we need to plant the seed.
Give With the Right Attitude
There’s a right way and a wrong way to plant seed. And when it comes to our needs, the way it works is through having a right attitude.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV)
First we need to understand that God doesn’t need our money. God owns it all anyway, so the money we have really isn’t ours to begin with, it’s His. God just gave it to us to use for a while, and then He’s going to give it to somebody else. The money we have, whether it is a little or a lot is really on loan from God.
So God really doesn’t need our money, what He want’s, however, is our hearts. He wants what our money represents. Most people spend their entire life thinking about money. They plan for it, save it, spend it, worry about it, invest it, and use it. It’s a major part of our lives, and that’s the part God wants to occupy. The Bible says that where our treasures are, that’s where we’ll find our hearts (Matthew 6:21).
And so God isn’t as interested in the amount we give, rather He’s interested in why we’re giving it. He’s interested in our attitude.
Again I turn to something Jesus said in how he praised the little amount given by the widow, verses the great amount that was given by the Pharisee, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:43-44 NKJV)
What then are the attitudes we’re to possess when it comes to our giving?
1. Give Thoughtfully
“As he purposes in his heart.”
Solomon says that as a person thinks in their heart, that is who they’re going to be, Proverbs 23:7. To “purpose in our heart” means we have to make up our minds to give God’s way instead of our own way. Some people think that spur of the moment giving is spiritual. They ask the Holy Spirit what they’re to give and He whatever He says to give, that is what they give, that is, unless they think the amount is too high.
But we aren’t to give impulsively; and that’s because our impulses are ruled by our emotions, and our emotions lie to us, Rather, we’re to give not only through prayer, but also by what God’s word says.
2. Give Enthusiastically
The word, “enthusiastic,” comes from the Greek word meaning, “God is in them.” To be enthusiastic is to be so filled with God that the Holy Spirit dominates our behavior. To give enthusiastically is to give based on the fact that God is alive in us.
Our giving to God should never be based on guilt or shame, which can be seen in this word “grudgingly.” Rather it’s to be in a spirit of excitement knowing that we’re following God’s way for our lives.
3. Give Voluntarily
“Not of necessity”
We are not give in response to pressure. Some think that by my talking about giving in a message is pressure. Trust me, this isn’t pressure. Pressure is an organization that goes on a finance drive to raise funds, and when the goal isn’t met, that’s when the pressure begins.
But if anyone feels like I’m stepping on their toes and they’re feeling a little uncomfortable, there’s an old adage that says, “You can’t step on anyone’s toes if they weren’t exposed to begin with.”
We are to give in obedience to God’s word, not pressured by others, which brings me to Paul’s last point.
4. Give Cheerfully
“God loves a cheerful giver”
The word for cheerful in the Greek is ‘hilaros,” which is our English word for ‘hilarious.’ God wants us to have a good time when we give. Think back, when’s the last time you heard a congregation laughing and applauding when it came time to give their tithes and offerings.
The Bible doesn’t say, “Give until it hurts;” rather “Give because it feels good to obey God’s word.” Its’ a lot more fun when we give and know that it’s making a difference.
But how can we give cheerfully? I think Paul gives us several things to remember to help us.
a. Remember it comes from God
We’ll never give God anything that He didn’t give us first.
“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10 NKJV)
When a farmer goes out to plant, what he knows is that he didn’t invent the seed; rather God gave it to him. Whatever crops are harvested, God gave the means to grow it, that is, the nutrients found in the ground, the water, and sunshine.
b. Remember God’s Guarantee
Jesus said that whatever we give to God, God will give it back in some way or another, and I’m not talking just financially. We may give financially, but God may return it ten fold in areas like the fruit or gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 NKJV)
Because Jesus said it, it’s a promise and a guarantee.
The Apostle Paul gives us the same idea.
“While you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:11 NKJV)
God’s guarantee is that He’ll give, and in the process increase our capacity for love and compassion.
c. Remember God’s Eternal Rewards
“As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’” (2 Corinthians 9:9 NKJV)
Paul is quoting the Psalmist who is speaking about the person God blesses. When they give, then their righteousness will forever endure. Jesus said we’re to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:21), and then when we get there they’ll be waiting. Our giving has eternal rewards.
And so, we have seen the principle and the procedure. Finally we have the promise.
The first part of the promise is …
a. Expect God to Meet Our Needs
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV)
When we give, when we plant the seed of faith with the right attitude, then God’s promises all grace will abound towards us, and that we’ll have sufficiency in all things, and He’ll give it in abundance, not so we can keep and hoard it, but rather that it can be used for every good work, that is, to further His kingdom, not our own.
And so giving isn’t about giving, giving is about faith. I believe God will keep His promises when I keep His word.
Think about it with me, how can we trust God with our eternal salvation if we cannot trust Him with our finances? That just doesn’t make sense. How can we trust God to save us, forgive us, and get us to heaven, if we can’t depend on Him to keep His word?
The second part of the promise is …
b. Giving is a Test of Faith
“While, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men.” (2 Corinthians 9:13 NKJV)
Paul is saying that when we give, it’s our statement of faith that we believe God and the good news of Jesus Christ. It’s our testimony that we really do believe in God, and that God will take care of our needs.
This is a lesson and a test.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…try Me now in this if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing…and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground.” (Malachi 3:10-11)
Maybe you didn’t know this, but did you know that this is the only time God said that we can test His faithfulness.
Now, look at one more thing quickly with me if you would. Yes, when we give the way God has outlined for us, He’ll open up the windows of heaven. But look a little further. It says that He will also rebuke the devourer at the same time.
Wow, what this is saying is that when we don’t follow God’s word, then there’s a devourer that comes and starts to eat away at what we have, and we’ll never find true satisfaction.
Who is this devourer? Let me reveal him to you through another prophet who was prophesying at the same time as Malachi. It was the prophet Haggai, and he identifies what this devourer does.
“Consider your ways! ‘You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’” (Haggai 1:5-6 NKJV)
As I began my walk of faith, I remember giving to meet needs within the church, like the chairs, office furniture, money for construction and the like, and I gave quite a lot, but it wasn’t in accordance with God’s word. And I remember that while I made plenty of money, in the end, there was nothing left. I never gave in full accordance with God’s word, but when I did, God did open up the windows of heaven and rebuked the devourer, and afterwards God started me on this new journey of faith that sees me here today.
I really need us to understand that this isn’t about giving to the church; it’s a principle for life. People are financially strapped because they’re not following God’s principle and procedure to receive His promise. And God’s promise is that He will open up heaven and rebuke the devourer.
The question is will we believe God or will we believe our own understanding?
When we remember just how much God gave to us in giving His Son, Jesus, to die in our place so that we can have eternal life. And when we remember the generosity of Jesus who left His heavenly estate to become one of us so that we might become rich through His poverty, that is when our giving to God is put into its proper perspective.
And the greatest thing we can give to God isn’t money or possessions; rather it’s ourselves.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1 NKJV)
And so I think we can say, like the Apostle Paul, in full assurance and faith, “My God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Wednesday Evening Bible Study