Values and Reasons (Romans 15:26-27)


[Rom 15:26-27 NASB] 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased [to do so,] and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

This morning, we're going to spend our time discussing values and reasons. Every one of us has values, and every one of us has reasons for those particular values. And this is true whether we're aware of it or not.

For example, as Christians, we value reading the Bible. Some might value reading the Bible because they were raised a certain way. Mom and dad read it, grandma and grandpa read it and on it goes. Reading the Bible is the value, and the reason is tradition.

Still, others have more superstitious reasons. Some people believe that reading the Bible will necessarily make things go better in their life. This is entirely untrue. An atheist could read the Bible every day, but unless they submit themselves to the author of the Bible (the redeemer of humanity), nothing will change. The Bible isn't a rabbit's foot, but neither is a rabbit's foot for that matter.

Still, others might say that their reason is to earn their way to God. Of course, no one will ever say it this way, but it is what they mean — a kind of man-made religion. A pseudo-spiritual checklist to earn mercy. Make no mistake there's a value and a reason even if it's absurd.

Although these may have been starting points for some, if we've learned anything from reading the Bible, it's that there are actual Godly reasons for the values that we have. Continuing is this example of reading the scriptures:

[2Ti 3:16-17 NASB] 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

And if you've studied Scripture for any length of time, you might even connect Ephesians 2:10 here which says,

[Eph 2:10 NASB] 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

So we have a value of reading God's word, but we also have Biblical reasons for it. It's "inspired," "profitable," and it "equips us for every good work." And the work we're equipped for is the work we were made for. Biblical value, Biblical reasons.

Well, today we're going to talk about another value and its reasons. This value and the reasons are one of the most beloved topics a pastor can preach on; that's right it's giving!

Now, I know exactly what some of you are thinking — Yea... a pastor and a money talk. Listen to me, the reason people are leary of a pastor and a money talk is the very reason I need to preach this message. People need to hear Biblical values and Biblical reasons! We've all been abused by made-up values and manipulated by self-serving reasons. But it's my conviction that when we hear Godly values and Godly reasons, we'll not only accept them but we'll be pleased to abide by them.

NOW FOR A BIT OF CONTEXT:

Paul wrote the book of Romans while in Corinth during his third missionary journey. Scripture gives us excellent detail about all three of Pauls journeys.

In Acts 15 and 16, Paul is returning from his first journey, and about to embark on a second. The first ends with the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. This council was assembled to address the Judaizers. A group of people teaching that unless you were circumcised and unless you adhered to the law of Moses, you could not be saved. Clearly a problem.

Pauls second missionary journey starts a little rough (kind of like many peoples family vacations and probably for the same reason); Scripture says, "There was a sharp disagreement." According to Acts 15, it was between Paul and Barnabas over a man named John Mark. The problem as Luke records it is that John was supposed to show up for a particular mission, and he didn't. Therefore Paul felt that he was unreliable.

It's important to note that they weren't divided over doctrinal issues. This was a practical matter. Later on, Paul and Barnabas are reunited, and Paul calls for John Mark because he says that he's valuable to him. So we actually see this come to a fair resolution. I'm only saying this to tell you that disagreements happen in the church. But in the first century, we're not talking about points of division that caused a church to fall apart. Both parties still recognize the other as a believer and even a friend.

Now the purpose of Paul's second missionary journey is plainly stated. It is "to strengthen the churches." This strengthening happened a couple of ways. First, Paul is going out to deliver the councils decision and thus ease the minds of those stirred up by the Judaizers. Second, in Chapter 16, "increasing the number of the church daily," (that is new believers) also refers to its "strengthening." This explains what happens next in the story.

[Act 16:9-10 NASB] 9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them.

This is the first time the Gospel had reached Macedonia, Achaia, and many other locations. The Church was being strengthened.

Geography Lesson:

Macedonia and Achaia (Romans 15:26-27) are both districts. We might call them regions today. Inside the district of Macedonia is a "leading city," and a "Roman colony." There are actually two cities, and we're familiar with them both, the first Philippi, and the second Thessalonica. The district of Achaia contains a familiar city for us too, that city is Corinth. The very place from which Paul writes to the Romans.

My point in sharing all of this is that Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth are all products of the Apostle Paul as sent by the church in Jerusalem. They are the recipient of spiritual blessings that emanate from Jerusalem.

Okay, so now to the value of giving and the reasons according to scripture.

[Rom 15:26-27 NASB] 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased [to do so,] and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.

The value that we are talking about is giving. The reasons are manifold.

REASON 1: Indebtedness.

Yes, you heard me. The Apostle Paul says that the Macedonians and the Achaians were indebted to Jerusalem. The Gentiles had shared in Jerusalem's Spiritual things. Paul planted these churches. They benefited in spiritual things and therefor are indebted to minister back in material things. This ministry of material things (the value of giving) was extended to the needy, to Paul (Philippians 4:15-17) and others.

[Phl 4:15-17 NASB] 15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the Gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 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.

This concept of indebtedness or owing something is not foreign to the Scripture. In Galatians 6:6 we read,

[Gal 6:6 NASB] 6 The one who is taught the word MUST share ALL good things with the one who teaches [him.]

In 1 Timothy 5:17-18 it says,

[1Ti 5:17-18 NASB] 17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

In the King James Bible, it says, "thou shalt not muzzle the ox while he is threshing." This is what is called a negative command, just like we see in the ten commandments.

1 Corinthians 9 echoes this.

[1Co 9:9-10 NASB] 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING." God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake, it was written because the plowman ought to plow in hope and the thresher [to thresh] in hope of sharing [the crops.]

This is all written for our sake. This is a debt, just like Paul says in Romans 15. The pastor, the teacher, the person investing in you in spiritual matters should be able to invest with hope, the hope of reaping. By the way, according to Romans 15, this is not merely Spiritual reaping.

27 "For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in MATERIAL things."

Giving is a value in the church, and one reason we give is that we are indebted to those who've shared with us.

I know this is an interesting idea to some, and it makes it hard as a pastor to preach things like this because it seems somewhat self-serving. But you can remove me from the equation if you would like. I'm not teaching this for me at the moment. I simply want you to see what another minister of the Gospel wrote some 2,000 years ago. Paul tells us that there's a value of giving and that one reason behind that value is an indebtedness.

Last thing on this point; notice that when Paul says the people were indebted to give material things, he doesn't provide a disclaimer. They understood both the value and the reason. Only in the 21st century do we have to spend hours communicating to people that even though they're saved by mercy, they are to present their bodies as a living sacrifice. God bought us church; we give it all back to Him. We're not paying Him back. We're merely giving Him what He purchased. This is true worship, according to Romans 12:1-2.

Not only did these people not protest, but they were also pleased to do so.

REASON 2 for the value of giving is that joy is at the heart of giving.

Every one of us knows the adage, "it is better to give than to receive." And those who understand it, understand that giving provides unspeakable joy. You might be like the widow and her mite in the new testament. Two pennies is all you have to your name. But remember what she did. She gave everything she had. She wasn't begrudgingly giving either. Jesus said she gave more than all the rest.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "God loves a cheerful giver." Please note that there are two things God loves here. God loves the giver, and God loves the disposition of the giver. If God just loved cheerful people, he would have just said that. But He said that He loves a cheerful giver. There's an action that you're doing (giving) and a heart condition that you have in doing it (Cheer).

Why does God love a cheerful giver? Because in giving, we reflect the Glory of the one who redeemed us. God, Himself is a cheerful giver. We're imitating our Heavenly Father.

[Jhn 3:16 NASB] 16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

[Rom 5:8 NASB] 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Scripture tells us that Christ came to earth and went to the cross willingly to give us life.

[Heb 12:1-2 NASB] 1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (this is all about obedience to God) 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus (our example), the author, and perfecter of faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was also the Father's good pleasure to reconcile us to Himself.

[Col 1:19-20 NASB] 19 For it was the [Father's] good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 AND through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross

Giving is a Christian value. Indebtedness and joy are both reasons to give.

2 Corinthians 9 gives us even more reasons to be a giving people. Turn with me there if you will. We're going to walk through this entire chapter and see the reasons along the way.

[2Co 9:1 NASB] 1 For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints;

What does he mean it's superfluous? It means that he already has confidence in them. He's still going to remind them, but as we learned last week, reminders don't mean we don't know something.

(Verses 2-5) "for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, [namely,] that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; 4 otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we--not to speak of you--will be put to shame by this confidence. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.

REASON 3 is found in verse 6: We reap what we sow.

"6 Now this [I say,] he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

Remember I quoted Galatians 6:6 before,

[Gal 6:6-10 NASB] 6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches [him.]

But listen to what Paul says through verse 10.

"7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (This is both positive and negative) 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."

Back to 2 Corinthians 9 and REASON 4: We give because God gave it to us to give.

[2Co 9:7-8 NASB] 7 Each one [must do] just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (REASON 2) 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed;"

You must catch this church.

[2Co 9:9-11 NASB] 9 as it is written, "HE scattered abroad, HE gave to the poor, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS endures forever." 10 Now HE who supplies seed to the sower (you and I) 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,"

Whatever you purpose to give, it was first given to you, and that giver is God. The real question is, do you trust Him? The faith message from a couple of weeks ago is speaking to us again. When it comes to the material blessings you are indebted to give to those who've spiritually blessed you; are you sitting in the chair?

There's a sanctification principle in this too. The value is giving; REASON 5 is growing in righteousness. We are enriched as we give so that we can give more.

REASON 6: God is glorified.

[2Co 9:11-13 NASB] 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,

REASON 7: Strengthening your spiritual allies. They pray for you. They yearn for you.

[2Co 9:13-15 NASB] 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!

Conclusion:

Our value today is giving. The reasons are:

REASON 1: Indebtedness.

REASON 2: Joy.

REASON 3: We reap what we sow.

REASON 4: We give because God gave it to us in order to give.

REASON 5: Growing in righteousness.

REASON 6: God is glorified.

REASON 7: We strengthen our spiritual allies.

The conclusion is this, there are biblical values in the Scripture, and there are biblical reasons. Sometimes we have lost our value because, or we have no value because we were given no reasons or we were given bad reasons. Please hear me church, bad reasons or no reasons should not prevent you from operating according to Godly values. God wrote to you. God gave you His word so you would know.

Challenge:

I want to challenge you today to spend some time with your family, and I want you to search the scriptures for biblical values. Then I want you to follow that up by searching the scriptures for biblical reasons. When we as a church adhere to biblical values according to biblical reasons, we're living God's best. We won't be offended when we hear those values proclaimed and we'll be far better off as followers of Jesus Christ. Amen.

#reasonsandvalues #reasons #value #valuesandreasons #giving #generousgiving

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square