SURPRISE! – Our response to the unexpected sometimes depends on our outlook
Some of your life circumstances might lead you to the conclusion that God doesn’t want anything to do with you – GOD DRAWS ON EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO DRAW US TOWARDS HIM
2nd Corinthians 1
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece.[a]
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,[b] about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness[c] and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you. 13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us, 14 even if you don’t understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord Jesus[d] returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.
15 Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice— 16 first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia.[e] Then you could send me on my way to Judea.
17 You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” 19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas,[f] Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. 20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. 24 But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.
2nd Corinthians 2
1 So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. 3 That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. 4 I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters[a] who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.
Make the decision to LOOK DEEPER
Who do you believe God is? –
The One who loves you the most wants nothing more than to experience a closer relationship with you
The ultimate fulfillment of your life depends on whether you will make the choice to turn towards God and seek Him for forgiveness and comfort
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU DIE?
Your success with REGARD TO WEALTH is determined by your objective with REGARD TO LIFE
10 Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly:
“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things
12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength
13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!
15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’[c]”
21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
24 When Jesus saw this,[d] he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
28 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
THE GIVING MYTH – 10% or 100%?
God doesn’t want to take your money; He just doesn’t want your money to take you
The Hallmark of early Christians was their GENEROSITY
Figure out a giving strategy
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
Things to avoid: Arrogance & Migration of hope – Things to pursue: putting hope in God (Don’t trust in riches, but in Him who richly provides)
18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
BE GENEROUS…but what does that mean?
“3P” Giving = Priority – Percentage – Progressive
41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.
PRE-DECIDE – HOW MUCH and to WHO
DO GOOD in the organizations that you GIVE TO – This is about YOUR heart
7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
If you’ve been giving the same percentage for most of your life, consider raising it. Life is not stagnant. It’s progressive in nature. And your giving should be progressive too.
Planning is the key to managing the side effects of wealth.
HOW TO BE RICH – PART 2 – SIDE EFFECTS
You are probably rich, but you may not FEEL rich. – The key difference is MARGIN
Rather than increasing our MARGIN by cutting back, we UPGRADE
Rich people live in DENIAL – NOBODY’S rich, but EVERYBODY KNOWS someone who IS.
BEING RICH COMES WITH SIDE EFFECTS
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be PROUD and not to TRUST IN THEIR MONEY, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
SIDE EFFECT #1 = ARROGANCE – You’ll think you’re smarter…and eventually…BETTER
SIDE EFFECT #2 = MIGRATION OF HOPE – The wealthier you get, the more you trust in money
11 The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.
The way to offset the side effects of wealth is to PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.
I WILL NOT TRUST IN RICHES BUT IN HIM WHO RICHLY PROVIDES
…Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
Why put your hope in the provision, when you can put your hope in your provider?
NOT How to GET Rich!
The world’s average salary is just less than $18,000 a year…Most of us are Rich
Rich people confuse BEING Rich with FEELING Rich
When we become rich, we move from what we NEED to what we WANT
Most people who are rich never learned HOW to BE rich, so we’re not very good at it. We aren’t very generous – Until you admit you’re rich, you will never be intentional at being good at it
The best way to learn how to BE Rich is to follow the will of the One who MADE YOU Rich
13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.
19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
MARGIN is the key to FEELING rich
UPGRADE – accounts for more margin erosion than anything else
Being good at being rich isn’t just about deciding what to do with your money – You also have to consider what your money is doing with you…or more to the point TO you.
Rich people are plagued by discontentment
“If you feed an appetite, it grows. Satisfying an appetite does not diminish it. It expands it. To diminish an appetite, you have to starve it.” – Andy Stanley
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Rich people suffer from “The migration of hope” – Wealth becomes a substitute forGod
22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
EVERYTHING YOU HAVE COMES FROM GOD
WE NEED TO PUT OUR TRUST IN THE ONE WHO PROVIDES