Now is the Time Week #2
Jason White



Join us this week as we look at the words of Paul to believers as he encouraged them in the grace of giving to God’s work. During this series, we will look at Scripture to see how God uses specific events to accomplish His purposes at specific times.







Read Sermon Transcript Here
We're gonna turn our attention to God's word and dive into it the rest with the rest of our time. Today, we're going to be in Second Corinthians, the letter, that second letter that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. So if you want to find second Corinthians chapter eight, we're going to look at most of chapters eight and nine today. But second Corinthians chapter eight, starting in verse one and just a moment, we're continuing this, this now is the time series that we started last week. If you were here last week, you know that as we we dove into Scripture, we looked at a number of different places where God was speaking to different people at different times in their life, either saying, Hold on, wait, now's not the time to move forward with this thing, or okay, go like now is the time to move forward in this particular way in your life. And we used that to see how that would apply to our own lives, as a church and where he's leading us collectively, but also with what he's doing. And each one of our lives as an individual, I know that at least one person came up to me after the service and throughout the week and said, Man, Jason, God just really spoke to me through the message about now being the time to put something out there, that God had been laying on my heart. And I had gotten kind of started but put off and haven't really finished. And we had a chance to talk about that it was just one of those moments where just like we saw in Scripture, God was leading different people to finally just go at this point in time, hey, now really is the time go, I'm leading you, I'm saying and I'm going to give you what you need to go do it. And we all kind of have stories like that, that are similar to those things. And each one of our lives, and each one of the different ways that he's leading us according to the roles that we all have and carry. But again, he's not just doing that in our individual lives. He's doing that, collectively with us as His church as his body. He's moving us along. And we are saying that we believe based on conversations that I've had based on the flood that happened in the sanctuary based on time spent in prayer that the Lord is saying to us, now is the time to take care of this ministry tool, this building that I've blessed you with, for the church to gather in, because he's not done with us yet. He's saying I've got more ministry, more people to reach more marriages to save more kids and grandkids to grow up. And this building is going to be a huge part of where I'm leading you guys as a church to do those kinds of things. And so you guys know if you've been here that this is leading up to what we're calling commitment Sunday, next week, where we're going to have an opportunity to, to give financially towards this campaign in order to take care of this building that God has blessed us with and make necessary improvements and upgrades throughout many of the areas and not just the worship center as well. And we're going to talk about this in detail a lot later. But one of the questions that you might have today, as we're heading into this commitment Sunday, next weekend is okay, so when it comes to God leading us to give and to raise money towards this kind of thing, what does that really look like from a biblical perspective? Which really is the question and the right way to ask that right? What does it look like from a biblical perspective? Not not Jason's perspective, not us as a church necessarily perspective and the individual eyes that maybe we see the world through, not even through the perspective of who you might have seen talk about money and raising money on TV One time, and did it more of in an abusive way, or in your own life growing up in church in some way. But what does it really look like from like a biblical perspective? And so this is important because we want to know how to expect God to work on our lives. If he really is saying to us that now is the time, then. Can he show us more specifically, what now is the time to do right how that practically really plays out when he leads us in this way. And one of the places that we see God saying something similar to this saying now is the time to a group of people and entire church to do just what we're doing to give financially to his kingdom work is in second Corinthians chapter eight and nine that I told you we're going to be looking at today. Just quickly before we dive into it, what's happening here is the apostle Paul is collecting and offering from them for the church at Jerusalem are in Jerusalem that was in need. They were experiencing a time of need and the church at Corinth honestly had already said they would give to this and that they wanted to be a part of this but It's been a year and they haven't followed through with it. And Apostle Paul is writing back to them saying, okay, now's the time to follow through with what you said you were going to do and the direction that I was leading you in a while back. And so as we look at this together and how he was leading them during this time, it will give us insight as to the ways we can expect him to work in our lives since, well, we are the church, one of his local churches, just like this was a local church that the apostle Paul was writing to, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So these are his words and the ways that he was using Paul as his vessel to communicate and guide them through this time. So let's look at what Paul begins to say in verse one of chapter eight. He says, Uh, now brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the Grace underline or highlight that word there that God has given the Macedonian churches in the midst of a very severe trial, they're overflowing joy will come back to that underline or highlight that. And their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity, another good one to underline or highlight, For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability entirely on their own. They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing, highlight or underline that in this service to be the Lord's people. And they exceeded our expectations, they gave themselves first of all, to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us, okay, so the first thing that we see, Paul doing here, or God doing through Paul is kind of what he's leading me to do today with you. Right, I'm taking you back to the church at Corinth, to see how God worked in and through them to give, he's standing before the church doing the same thing, saying, Let me take you over to the churches in Macedonia and show you how God worked in their lives to lead them so that you'll get some insight to see how God's gonna work in your life, which I think is really cool, because Paul's doing something that we're really doing the way that God was leading them to do it at the same time. But as he's saying that he mentioned several things about these Macedonian churches, this group of churches in this area, again, he said that they were poor, we saw that they were actually in extreme poverty is what he said that they weren't just poor. They were extremely poor. These were dark circumstances. This was a situation that they were in where they themselves were in dire need. But he also said that they had joy. How is that possible, to be going through extreme poverty and such a difficult situation, and still have joy? Because Joy does not ultimate joy does not come from art situations or circumstances, but through Christ and Christ alone. And they were in Christ, they had his joy in this joy that Paul or excuse me that God had given them in Jesus, he says, welled up, overflowed from a place deep within, in rich generosity. So God led them to give generously from this, this place of deep joy that was in them. That's where it came from. And it was so much joy. Paul said in verse four, that they pleaded with him about being able to give, because it was such a privilege to do so. The word privilege there and the original Greek is Karis. And many of you may recognize that word even if you don't necessarily know Greek, because it's one that we talk about and highlight all the time. It's the word that a lot of times is translated grace. So you see even more of what they were talking about when they say they saw it as a privilege to give it was a grace to us to be able to give it was a gift from God for us to be able to participate in his kingdom work to give financially to the church in Jerusalem. Matter of fact, I was even blown away by this same kind of attitude from one of our single moms in our own church not too long ago, she came up to me it was some time outside of the church service and had an envelope and handed it to me and said, Hey, I miss the the offering can you make sure that this gets in the offering plate? And she said, Listen, it's it's not much I don't even really make much money. But this is the first time that I've ever been able to give at church and I'm just so excited that I get to participate in the act of giving and worshiping God through that giving there was just this real, genuine joy on her face and in her tone and the way she was excited about being able to give even if it wasn't much compared to what maybe many others were giving, there was just this over flowing joy, the kind that only comes from God. I think God is the one who does that kind of thing. And Paul highlights that here. That's what he was doing in the lives of these Macedonians who didn't have much, but what they had welled up in rich generosity. And so when we think about that, and we're asking the question, how, how can we expect God to work in our lives through this now is the time campaign Well, the same way he did with this church, which was to produce overwhelming joy, and for them, and us to be able to see it as a privilege to be able to do so. And I know that's many of your hearts, we've been talking about this, we've had some informational meetings for a while now. And so many of you have told me either after those meetings, or in passing somewhere, that you're on board with this, that you're excited that we're updating and renovating a lot of things around here, and that you can't wait to be able to give and do your part in the way that the Lord is leading you. And again, that's just confirmation of what we see him doing in the churches in Macedonia, and in our church, as he's leading us to say now is the time as well. Paul goes on after these first five verses, picking up in verse six and says, so we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning to bring also to completion, this act of grace on your part. So this is where we see I mentioned earlier, it was something that had been started and hadn't been completed yet. This is where we see that they hadn't finished it. And Paul was saying, now's the time, now's the time to finish this. But look again at the way that Paul referred to it. It's time to bring also to completion, this act of what is act of grace. Once again, we see him referring to this as a grace, it was tied to God's grace and what he was doing in their life. And it was a gift, a privilege to be able to participate. He's going to keep saying it, mentioning it over and over again, he does so in the very next verse, verse seven. But since you excel in everything in faith and speech and knowledge and complete earnestness, and in the love we have kindled in, you see all that you also excelled in this grace of giving, there it is, again, and it's not the last time he's gonna use it. But Paul says, Since you excel and everything, sometimes that word is translated, a balance, and you are bound in everything, or it means to be the abundant to have abundance, to be super abundant to be overflowing with abundance. Paul's saying in this, that there is an over abundance of God's grace in your lives, that is overflowing. This is the same letter that we often quote from Second Corinthians chapter five, verse 17, that in Christ, we become new creations, that the old us is dead, buried and gone. And we're raised up as someone new, just a few chapters earlier, Paul had used this language that you become new creations in Christ, that you're already spiritually seated in heaven. You stay here, though, as ambassadors of reconciliation, God expresses the life that he's given to you through you, which is really kind of what he's saying here, that grace and all that they have an abundance in him is overflowing now in their speech, you can recognize his grace in the way that they're talking. You can recognize His grace and their knowledge. And as they talk about what it is that they're coming to know, and an understanding of grace and who they are in Christ, it's overwhelming and their earnestness and their love. It's just starting to be manifested for others to see. And now Paul is urging them since we're seeing the overflow of that grace and speech and knowledge in earnest and in love. Let's see it now in this grace of giving. All these other areas is starting to spill over in God's done this work, it's part of who you are in the grace that he's extended to you. And so now let's see this work of Jesus come through you and be manifest as you complete, what it is that he's calling you to do and empowering you to do. He picks up in verse eight and says, I'm not commanding you. So this is not a not a command, right? This is this is Grace. But I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace there it is, again, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor so that through his poverty, you might become rich. Yes. Hallelujah. Amen. Jesus is a giver, a sacrificial giver. He was rich, you picture the God of the universe sitting in the glory and riches of heaven. And he left all of that gave them up to come here to give his life for us. Philippians two even tells us that he made himself nothing. He took on the nature of a servant, he subjected himself to death, this was a sacrificial gift from him. And through the gift that he offers to us, we become extremely rich, complete forgiveness, we receive His holiness and His righteousness and every spiritual blessing that there is to have, we receive abundant life in this new union that we have with Jesus Christ. If you're even here today, you're a guest, or you are just checking this thing out wondering what this whole church thing is about. This whole Jesus thing is about, we're not talking about giving in your particular case, except from the fact of Jesus giving Himself to you and for you. I mean, you see the gospel and what this whole Bible is ultimately about in that one verse, that God though Jesus, though he was rich, he gave it all up to become poor, and give his life so that you might become rich, you might experience life in the way that you were created to experience it. But sin has interrupted and so if that's you today, know the good news, know that it's a gift available to you that you can have complete forgiveness through what it is that he purchased for you on the cross. And then you can have abundant and eternal life in him, if you'll just say yes to him, you'll just receive it by putting your faith and trust in Him. And when you do, you become rich, and you are bound, and all of these blessings that begin to, as Paul saying, Here, flow through us. And so he's saying out of all that you have, I want this to be an act of love, based on Jesus's love, not not a command I don't want you to giving, because I'm commanding you to give, I don't want you to feel like it's a duty or an obligation. He's really showing and going out of his way to say this is a gift, it's a privilege, I want this to be an act of love, on your part, do it only under those situations. Paul goes on in verse 10. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year, you were the first not only to give, but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, now's the time. So that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means underlying that, for if the willingness is there, that gift is acceptable, according to what one has not according to what one does not have. Okay, so here is one of the more specific things that we can point to, when we were asking the question How It Should we expect God to follow through in a specific way to lead us during this time? Well, according to Paul, the Holy Spirit through Paul, he's encouraging them to give out of their means to give out of what it is that they have, what God has blessed them with. I think I've told you this story before some of you have heard it. But at my previous church, we were going through a similar campaign like this, and we were trying to raise $1.5 million. And as soon as we announced the campaign, we had one of our older leaders in the church come up to me privately. And he said, Jason, I want to match dollar for dollar, everything that people are giving up to half of what we're trying to raise up to $750,000. And I just about fell out of my chair. I mean, I had no idea that he had that kind of money. I don't think anyone else knew that he had that kind of money. Because really, for most of his life, he didn't. I mean, he owned his own business. And he did pretty well with it, I'd say middle little upper middle class. I mean, he was fine, but he wasn't rich by any means. But he had bought a piece of property, eventually sold it and he gets this call about this property that he no longer even owned, and said, Hey, you still have the mineral rights, you own the mineral rights, even though you've sold the property, and we want to drill on this and we're looking for permission and we're gonna pay you to be able to do so and all of a sudden, he started getting checks in the mail that were very significant and substantial, large amounts of money. And now he had always been a giver, right? He had always given out of his means a certain amount, but now his means had grown. Now he could give out an even greater means. In that's what he said he wanted to do. I mean, I'll never forget he said Jason We've been blessed with this money. But we don't need this money. I want to get out of this means now and basically give it away. I know I could use it to go buy another house and a vacation home and cars that we've always wanted and things that we wished we would have had our entire life, but we don't need him, we're doing just fine. And now that we have a greater means to be able to do so we want to give out of those means. And so when we look at this, Paul is saying we can expect God to lead us to give out of what it is that we have, what it is that he's blessed us with. And for some of you, maybe you have the means to be able to give $750,000 Or so it is matter of fact, I even had a story of somebody on staff was telling me not too long ago about another campaign at another church that they had been a part of where a guy walked up at the end of it. And I can't remember the exact amount, but it was somewhere around two or 3 million like we're trying to raise right now. And he said, So how much are we trying to raise through this campaign and $3 million, and he pulls out his checkbook and writes a check for $3 million, and said, well, the campaign's over. Some people have a greater means out of which to give than others and maybe that's you and how the Lord's going to work in your life. For most of us. It's not right, but it doesn't make it any less significant. It all matters. It's all God's activity, teaching us to trust him with what he's given us and what he lays on our hearts to give in these situations to play a role and how he's working through us to accomplish His kingdom work. He goes on verse 13, our desire is not that others might be relieved when you are hard pressed, but that there might be a quality at the present time your plenty will supply what they need. So that in turn, there plenty will supply what you need. The goal was equality as it is written, the one who gathered much did not have too much and the one who gathered little did not have too little this is a direct quote from the Old Testament. More specifically from Exodus chapter 16, verse 18, this is where God was providing Manna for the people so that everyone's needs were met in the wilderness, not one person's needs were, of course overly provided for and somebody else didn't get necessarily enough. And so Paul's using this to refer to them refer them to God's provision in the Old Covenant under the Old Covenant in this way. But while he's also talking about it in this New Covenant perspective that we've been seeing all throughout the passage, as I was reading through this and reading a number of different Commentaries this week, I kept going back to Scott Hofmann's Dr. Scott Hoffman's commentary on Second Corinthians, and it was so good, what he said about these few verses. And what Paul had been saying up to this point that I just want to quickly read to you a few of the things that he said here because I think it really helps us see what giving is from a New Covenant perspective. He says, where as the equality in the first exodus was established miraculously by God, for the people because of their hard hearts. Now, it is being established by the people themselves through their own spirit led sharing, while God supplied Israel's physical needs with manna and quail, but did not change their spiritual condition. Under the new covenant. God is meeting the spiritual needs of the Corinthians in order that they might meet the physical needs of others. Paul's expectation in chapter eight, verse 11, is thus one more expression of his confidence in the transforming power of the presence of God under the new covenant. For this reason, Paul leaves the amount of their giving up to the Corinthians, convinced that as new creation in Christ, the quantity of their giving will match the quality of their changed hearts. Isn't that good? It's so good. This is giving under the new covenant. Giving under the new covenant is an expression of the transformed hearts that Jesus gives us. That's why we don't talk about tithing here. That's why we don't talk about commands or rules whenever it comes to giving because we don't have to, because God transforms our hearts under the new covenant. And those hearts that he gives us that are new are giving heart will give because of His grace, joyfully leading us to do so. This is giving under the New Covenant, commanded, not rules, bound, not duty, legalistic, just joyful giving out of an abundance of grace that He has given us. We made it through verse 15 of chapter eight, I'm going to skip Have the rest of chapter eight in the first few verses of chapter nine. Paul basically tells them in this section about the instructions of how he's going to take up the collection. Hey guys, I'm gonna send Titus to you, Titus is coming, he and another guy and this is what you can expect and some of the details with that kind of thing. He picks back up in chapter nine, verse six, with how they can expect God to continue to work when he is saying now's the time. Verse six of chapter nine, remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously each of you should give what you have decided to give were in your heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver, again, it's a matter of the heart. God's given us a new heart, new desires and we're new creations in Christ, he's going to prompt us to give cheerfully as he lays it on our hearts to give verse eight, and God is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things at all times, having all that you need those great phrases, you will abandon every good work as it is written, they have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever. 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. Listen, you will be enriched in every way. Why? So that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. Paul's basically saying in all of those verses as an expression of God's grace, He is able to provide whatever it is that you need, in order to use it to provide not just for yourself, but also for others as he leads and empowers. Verse 12, this service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord's people, but it's also overflowing and many expressions of thanks to God, 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, and in their prayers. For you, their hearts will go out to you. Why, because of this surpassing grace God has given you there it is, again, thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. Basically, Paul ends the same way that he started in with what he's been talking about this entire section, God's grace, these people that church at Jerusalem will give thanks. Why? Because their hearts will go out to them because of the surpassing grace that God had given them this indescribable Gift of Jesus that he had blessed them with. So what do we see in all of this? It's Grace. It's Grace that prompts are giving. Its its grace that provides for all that we need. It's Grace that empowers us to give freely to grace that empowers us to give cheerfully to grace that empowers us to give sacrificially. So this is when we see him working in this way with his church. It's the same way that we can expect him to work through us as His Church. Today, his grace provides for all of your needs, his grace, the over abundance of it will prompt you and provide you the opportunity to give freely sacrificially. And to do so cheerfully with joy, to be able to see it as a privilege. So let me give you just some practical details about what this is going to look like heading into next week with our commitment Sunday. First of all, the schedule will look different. If you show up at 11 o'clock for worship next week, you will have missed the service. So Mark that down, put on your phones right now set an alarm to go off if you have to. All right, we only do this a few times a year where we have one service instead of two. And it's more of a family service. One church that worships in two different services comes together as one church on those Sundays. And to just kind of split the times, we've decided to do it at 10 o'clock and be done between 1040 and 11. When the normal Sunday school, our wedding and we're still going to have Sunday school that day, it'll start at nine and at 945 If you want to come to Sunday school, but the service will start at 10 lasts till about 1045 or 11. During that service, there will be a time of commitment. We're going to ask if you haven't started doing so to begin praying about how the Lord's leading you. Again, not me, not the person sitting next to you. But however God's working in your life. And during that time of commitment. You'll have the opportunity whether it's us an individual, you as a married couple you as a family, to pray to just spend some time praying and committing These gifts to the Lord and praying for how he's going to use them as part of His kingdom work and that he'll provide all that we need during this time. And it's just going to be a special time for us to be able to share in that as one church family. On that day, you'll turn in if the Lord's leading you to give a one time gift to this, to be able to get the project started, you'll have an opportunity to give it on that day, and turn in your commitment cards that show what he's laying on your hearts to give systematically over the next three years to give you an idea of that, you may have gotten one of these commitment cards in the mail, or you'll be getting one early next week, most likely. And if not, you want to pick some up, there's some on a table around here, somewhere. But what we're asking you to do, again, if the Lord leads you to do this, is to fill out that yellow box up there saying, Hey, here's my one time gift and what I'm giving to the campaign starting today, and then here's my three year pledge that I'm leading the Lord, that the Lord is leading us to be able to give and however you give that which helps us right, it helps us to know if you're going to give that every week or once a month or only once a year, so that we'll know when maybe to expect that money coming in so that we can divide the workout into phases and know that we have the money to pay for the various things that we are doing in those ways. And so we're going to ask that you, you fill that out and turn that in during that time as well. Now, some of you will say I want to give, and I want to give my one time gift, but I don't use a check anymore, and I'm not gonna give that out in cash. And so I expect or I was gonna give online, you can certainly still do that, okay, you don't have to give on this particular day in that envelope that we have. And then some of you may have had plans to be on vacation, or you're going to be out next week. And you want to be a part of this, but you just won't be here next Sunday. You can do all of this online, there's a digital commitment card on there as well. And so you can go to Colonial backslash now, you'll see this as at the top of the page. So you'll know that you're there, you begin scrolling down and you'll see on the next slide, there's some videos, you go to the next slide, you'll see some different information about it. Another video, I think from an informational meeting, if you want more details, and I think the next one, if you scroll down a little bit more, you'll get to where they're giving you as you click on that button, you're gonna have a pop up tab that looks like that, you'll see that it says general, if you give to that fund that goes to our ongoing ministry here that helps pay for the air conditioning to be on and for us to have children's ministry and youth ministry and to give to missions and all of the things that make this thing work on a daily and weekly basis. But you'll click on that tab that drop down menu and click now is the time building fund to be able to give your one time gift to that. And then you're done. This is the digital commitment card that's just a little bit further down that same page, you fill out all the things there, you get to the next slide. And at the bottom, you hit submit and that turns in that same commitment card. If you can't be here next Sunday, for some reason you're watching online and want to worship with us that way. So that gives you some details of kind of what to expect going into next Sunday. I hope that clears a lot of things up for you and the heart behind which we're doing it and how we can expect the Lord to move in and through us during this time. If you still have questions I'm always available. No kin Baxter is our finance team. Chair is always available. Lisa Juno, she can help you with those kinds of things. Please reach out. I'll stick around after the service. If you want to talk to me. Ask me any questions about those kinds of things as well. All right, let's pray. And then we will be dismissed. Father, thank you so much for we read about two chapters of Your grace, the over abundance of Your grace, the the riches of Your grace. Father, we no longer operate from a place of lack in our lives. When we put our faith and trust in you. We are before but the moment we put our faith and trust in you. We are made complete. We are made rich in Christ. We have an abundance of all blessings in you. You give us everything that we'll need for life and godliness. Thank you. Lord, I pray that you as you continue to move us in this now is the time campaign. We make ourselves available to you. Would you show us by your grace, how you're leading us to play our part in this if we're partners or members at Colonial hills. Lord, you lay it on our hearts, you empower us. move us to the place where it's with joy, that it's done with cheer where it's seen as a privilege only you can do that. Thank you for how you provide for us. Thank you ahead of time for what it is that you are going to do. use us as your church in this campaign and each and every single day as a day of our lives in Jesus name amen