2 Corinthians 9:15 Living the Indescribable Life

RSUMC Worship including this sermon

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 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.  You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us;  for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.  Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  [NRSA 2 Corinthians 9:6-15]

This thanksgiving, little will be different for all the hype and warnings. People will find ways to share a meal of some size and flavor, People will talk about

  • family,
  • politics,
  • church,
  • football, and the
  • weather.

People will experience both the joys of traditions and the pangs of conflict.

The first Thanksgiving was a three-day celebration, developed out of a) conflict, b) theft, c) survival, and d) giving thanks to God for 1. forgiveness, 2. learning to work together with our enemies, 3. relationship building and 4. celebration around sharing food, and milestone for looking back< and >looking forward.

Even if we are separated by distance this year, we will find ways

  • to remember,
  • to hope,
  • to fuss, and
  • to love one another.

Paul writes these words to the churches around the of Corinth and in this passage is speaking about two matters. First, Paul is asking all the churches around the Mediterranean where the gospel is being preached and churches are springing up, to contribute to the needs of the church members experiencing a famine in Jerusalem.

For nearly 10 years, Paul goes about calling churches to see the needs beyond themselves and to help feed those who are physically hungry as Jesus had commanded his disciples to do.

This passage speaks to why we support foreign mission ministries that are outside of our own community. We who know Christ, know that God will provide for us both. Sometimes we are in the midst of a pandemic, famine, or storm and God will send others to us, and other times we are those called to help those who are.

Paul reminds us all that God is generous and calls us to be generous.

God is praised when we show our gratitude by sharing our love, devotion, obedience, and giving.

  • We show our love to God by caring for those God calls us to serve.
  • One of Paul’s affirmations for the church is to LIVE as GENEROUS PEOPLE.
  • Be known for being gracious, generous, and obedient to God.

Secondly, There are series of truths we need to remember about God

  1. God is generous – giving us earth, water, air, spirit, live, AND that most special gift.
  2. God love us – God doesn’t need us, but God chooses to work through our work and words.
  3. God is praised when we love generously – loving both God and all others.

This Thanksgiving, the thing that I hope you will choose to make different is not about protocols or travel plans.

  • This is the year that we make Thanksgiving about God rather than just a meal.
  • This is the year that we make time to Praise and honor God with appreciation.
  • This is the year that we focus more on the present need for Christ in our lives than traditions past.

Verse 15. What do we do this year that’s different than the rest?

Have the food, call the family and friends, watch the games and tell the family stories… but first deal with verse 15 of 2 Corinthians

  • Thanks Be to God.
  • God’s Indescribable Work.
  • God’s gift of Christ for the world around me to know through me.

Three things:

  1. Make God the focus on Thanksgiving.
    1. Typically, we say “I am thankful for my relationships, my home, our food, and work, or our belongings…. But where is God in this list?
    1. The power words in our affirmation of gratitude most often include “I” and “my”.
    1. Paul is challenging us to turn our thanks toward God first:
      1. God its because of you I have my family
      1. It is because of your I have a home
      1. It is your work that is my life’s purpose
      1. It is you that guides me at work, at school, in life.
      1. Every bite I eat, may it be for your work,
      1. I belong to you, do with me what you will, for your work, I am yours.
    1. In this way, The appreciation is not for what is ours or is mine, but that we are Gods., Hear the difference?
  2. We are most thankful for the gift that there are not enough words to describe, be we commit the rest of our lives to live out our appreciation.
    1. We are saying not only with our words “Thank you”, we are also putting our daily life into God’s hand, our work, our money, our time, our school, our worries, our sins, our success, our opportunities —- at God’s guiding spirit.
  3. Finally, is the gift: The gift is our grace, hope, salvation, and life that is paid by Christ, wrapped in the church as the body of Christ, and given to us.

Paul is calling the church to :

  1. Praise God with our words
  2. Preach God with our thoughts and actions
  3. Trust God’s gift as truth, power, and purpose for us, our family and friends, strangers, enemies and all people.

There is a difference between saying a prayer, cutting a turkey, complaining about politics, watching the game and taking a nap. — that stuff never changes.. the change we MUST make is to

  1. Shift the ideas of our heads and words to God’s heart & God’s word.
    1. See and Trust God to use our lives, relationships, and opportunities to share the wonderful “Gift of Christ” in our circles of influence.
      1. To experience the up wrapping and applying of the gift Christ is as God works to transform the world, through us.
      2. Say Thank You by Sharing Christ…

Tonight we will have our church family Zoom meeting! No, it’s not ideal but we will not be gathering to share a meal at these tables, but we will begin at the table, sofa, or tv tray at our own home.

Share your email address, log on to zoom, the meeting ID will be in the comments. We want everyone to gather, even if you are not joining us online, pick up the phone and call someone and share this time with some in the church, in your family, a neighbor, make some connection to share the holy time of giving Thanks to God.

Your homework between now and 5pm is to make a list of what GOD has done, what has God provided, What has God opened in your life?

What doors has God help close?

Are you grateful, are you relieved, are you sad? Grieving? Are you appreciative? Are you scared? We gather as the body of Christ to give our whole self to honor God, to trust God, to find a new God’s save grace and loving gift unfolding in our spirit.

  • a) How has God been working in your life and
  • b) what do you want God to know?

Prayer of Thanks, asking for accountability, Offering praise, and Thanksgiving. Lord have mercy on us, your people.

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