Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

 Giving Thanks for An Incredible Gift
2 Cor 9:10-15

10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Thanks for An Incredible Gift:

Because It Blesses . . the Giver. v 10-12

Because It Blesses the . . Receiver

Because It Blesses . . God.
 
 

1.    Thanks for An Incredible Gift Because It Blesses . . the Giver. v 10-12


    10 For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. 11 Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. 12 So two good things happen as a result of your gifts-those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. TLB
 

A.    Blesses the Giver because of the . . Supplying. v 10 a
        "Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;

Illustration
If you gain nothing else out of what I say today, I want you to be sure and gain this. What is your concept of God? Do you see God as being a supplying God, one who will not allow you to out give Him? I really feel that some people feel like they can't trust God. Therefore, they can't give thanks and they can't give it in a very meaningful way. But I want to tell you, you can not out give God. God will not be a debtor to any man. If you want to give, He will supply a way for you to do it.
 

B.    Blesses the Giver because of the . . Sowing. v 10 b
        Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;

Illustration
When I had an office with more wall space, I had on my wall a placard that said, "The greatest way to live life is to live life so that life will out live life." This is a sowing principle. My pastor who died just a couple of weeks ago was the first person I heard to mention that theme. And as I think about his life and the sowing of his life, and how much it had an impact upon me and other persons who are my age and who were young people when he was our minister, What a great thing to say "that I've life my life so that my life will out live my life."

Illustration
A student pastor went to visit a young farmer who had recently returned from military service. He was plowing, and the preacher went to the last furrow and waited for him. After they talked awhile, the young preacher said, "Do you realize the Lord could save you right now in the cool of this freshly plowed row?" Then he suggested, "Let's kneel here," and knelt in the raw earth.

The young farmer knelt, also, and bowed his head. Soon, in prayer, he turned his life over to Jesus. Afterward, he expressed his thanks over and over.

"If you wanted to be a Christian so badly, and if you are so glad to be a Christian now, why weren't you a Christian before?" The preacher asked curiously.

"Plenty of preachers have come over here and told me what a rough life I lived in the army." The young farmer looked up sharply. "I don't know whether you knew that or not, but you didn't say a word about it! All you did was tell me that Jesus loves me."
 

C.    Blesses the Giver because of the . . Stretching. v 10 c - 11
        10 c ". . . and increase the harvest of your righteousness;   11 a you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, . . . "

Illustration
When I think about stretching, I hear people say every once in a while. For instance, I've heard actors say, "I've taken this new kind of part so that I might stretch myself." I've heard singers say, "I'm singing a new style song so that I might stretch myself."

I want you to notice this when verse 10 says, "and increase the harvest of your righteousness." And verse 11, the first part says, "you will be enriched in every thing for all liberality." Friend, it's talking about stretching yourself in the matter of giving. I want to challenge you to stretch yourself and trust God in new adventure of giving. The giving of thanks will bless you because giving blesses the giver.

Can you understand this statement? I'm not interested in your tithes, but I am interested in tithers. A person who is a committed tither has demonstrated that they have reached a place in their Christian faith that they trust the Lord in a different dimension than those who do not tithe. I challenge you to stretch yourself in the giving of thanks and do it in a very practical way of being obedient in the tithe.

Phil 4:16-17 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. NAS
 

D.    Blesses the Giver because of the . . Service. v 12 a
        For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God
 

E.    Blesses the Giver because of the . . Saints. v 12 b
        For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God

Illustration
A pastor mentioned that in one service he asked people to turn to one another and introduce themselves, saying, "Hello, my name is Saint ." That exercise helped most people think about themselves in a new light, all except one man. The pastor's wife Anna was sitting next to him. She turned and said to him, "I'm Saint Anna."

The man paused, and then said, "I can't say it." Thinking him shy, she prompted him, "You don't have to feel awkward. Remember, we're saints because of Jesus, not ourselves."

"I know. I believe that firmly," he said. "Well, just say it, then."    "No. I'm not saying it." Then he paused, smiled, and lowered his voice. "My name is Bemard."

Application

As A Giver of thanks you will feel blessed. If you are not a giver of thanks in practical ways you are short changing yourself.

Spurgeon said "The gospel can be summed up in two words; Giving and forgiving".
 
 

2.    Thanks for An Incredible Gift Because It Blesses the . . Receiver. v 13-14


    13 Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine. 14 And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you. TLB

A.    Blesses the Receiver because of the . . Proof. v 13 a
            ". . . Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God . . . "

Illustration
Years ago, an annoyed senior citizen from Richmond Heights, Missouri, hung up on President Reagan, who was trying to call him. This happened not just once, but half a dozen times! He didn't believe the operator when she insisted that the White House was calling. He was so sure it was a prank that he didn't stay on the line. But the Southwestern Bell operator and a neighbor finally convinced him it was for real. As a result, the man had the privilege of chatting with President Reagan for about 15 minutes.
Adapter from ODB Wed 13 Jan 99.

B.    Blesses the Receiver because of the . . Profession. v 13 b
        ". . . for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, . . . "

C.    Blesses the Receiver because of the . . Provisions. v 13 c
        ". . . and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, . . . "

Illustration
When we were in seminary, we had bought our groceries, paid our tithes, and giving our offering on Sunday and we were out of money on Tuesday. But in the mail on Tuesday, we received a $200 check from a couple of the church in Illinois that I pastored. That night we called them and told them what a blessing their gift was. And we related to them we were completely out of money. And that your gift came at a time where it was very much a provision for us from them and from God.

You know, they said they were just sitting around talking about us and that the Lord prompted them to send us some money. What a blessing it is for the receiver to understand that the gift is a gift from God. Giving blesses the receiver.

D.    Blesses the Receiver because of the . . Prayers. v 14 a
            ". . . while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you . . . "

E.    Blesses the Receiver because of the . . Pleasure. v 14
        ". . . because of the surpassing grace of God in you. "

Illustration
Dallas Cowboys football star Deion Sanders said he attempted suicide before becoming a Christian. Sanders told CBS' NFL Today that he tried to kill himself a year ago when his marriage was failing and his father was dying. He said he drove his car at 70 miles an hour off a 40-foot cliff in Cincinnati, where he was playing baseball for the Reds.

" I attempted suicide, but God had his hands on me," said Sanders, who has become an outspoken Christian. "The car went down and hit [the ground] and there wasn't a scratch on me or on the car."

Application

You see the prayers of Deion's parents and further the prayers of Christian players and Christian friends had an impact on his life. He had to back away from the experience of his attempted suicide that failed so dramatically to understand that something was involved to keep his life here on this earth. It was a receiving and it was a blessing to him.

Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, NAS
 
 

3.    Thanks for An Incredible Gift Because It Blesses . . God. v 11 b, 12 b, 15


    11 b ". . . they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. . . " 12 b ". . . and they overflow with thanks to God." . . . 15 Thank God for his Son-his Gift too wonderful for words. TLB

Illustration
Do you remember the humorous story about the little child praying and asking God to bless everyone he could think of and then said God take good care of your self because with out you we are really in a mess.

Illustration
It seems I remember a Country and Western song several years ago that had the title or recurring theme of "God bless God. "

A.    A Blesses God by the . . Production of Thanks. v 11 b
            ". . producing thanksgiving to God."

B.    Blesses God by the . . Proliferation of Thanks. v 12 b
        "overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.. . . "
 

Illustration LORD, THANK YOU
Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.    Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy, grimy towels and dirty lavatory; they are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; It has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years. The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing, the lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard.

Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

C.    Blesses God by the . . Persuasion of Thanks. v 15
        "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Application

1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. NAS
 


Conclusion

A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it 'was too crowded'. "I can't go to Sunday School," she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class.

The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus. Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kindhearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read,

"This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school." For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there!

A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for a 57 cent payment. Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00 - a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside at Sunday school time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, "Acres of Diamonds." - a true story.