"Abundance in Sharing" 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15.
Series: Expository Sermons
April 04, 2022
Paul points to three characteristics of Biblical giving in his second letter to the Corinthians from chapter eight to nine. As he moves from earlier chapters where Paul was explaining the ministry of the New Covenant, now Paul is exercising the ministry of Collection. Highlighting biblical giving as: 1-Generous, 2-Purposeful, and 3-Joyous. Paul seeks the involvement of Corinthians church in sharing an offering for the needs of the saints. He wisely uses the example of the collaborating Church of Macedonia and of Christ, commands to give, commends a Christian Crew, collects for Christians in Jerusalem, and compares the cheerful giver to the compulsory one. We all may learn so much in the area of giving, God is the ultimate giver. Praised be His name for His inexpressible gift!
$1 spent for lunch lasts about 5 hours.
$1 spent for a necktie lasts about five weeks.
And a dollar spent for a cap lasts about five months.
A dollar spent on an auto or a car lasts about five years,
and a dollar spent on a railroad lasts about five decades.
But every one of the dollars spent in God's service lasts for an eternity.
Those are the words of Roger Babson.
The title of my sermon is Abundance in Sharing. Abundance in Sharing. And my text is Two Corinthians, chapter eight, verse one through chapter nine, verse 15.
Paul points to three characteristics of biblical giving in this block of text.
As a recap, we have seen what Paul has been doing in these previous chapters of the second letter of Corinthians, right? He's been explaining…Paul has been explaining the Ministry of the New Covenant.
Now, we enter a new section here. From chapters eight and nine, Paul will be exercising the Ministry of the collection. And the way he does that is…
In these verses;
He will introduce a collaborating Church.
He will command, question mark, to give. I put a question mark because he really puts it up to the giver.
He will also be commending a Christian crew that will carry that offering.
And then he will be collecting for the Christian in Jerusalem.
Finally comparing the cheerful giver to the compulsory giver.
So what are the three characteristics of biblical teachings?
Biblical giving is generous.
Biblical giving is purposeful,
and biblical giving is joyous.
Starting on verse one of chapter eight of Two Corinthians.
“We want you to know, brothers, about the Grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia.
For in a severe test of affliction,
their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For they gave according to their means, as I can testify,
and beyond their means of their own accord,
begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the Saints.
And this not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.“
So in this first section, we see that biblical giving is not just any giving, but the biblical teaching on giving is very generous.
And you'd say, yes, anyone that gives already has a heart that is open to generosity.
Now, that is true because in itself, the definition of giving is sharing, from what we have, to others, that's basically a simple definition of giving.
But what we see here and what Paul is doing in introducing the topic of giving as he requests the church of Corinth to give is that he, very wisely, uses a comparison with the Church of Macedonia.
Picture yourself as a person who is doing a drive. How would you present the request of funds for the purpose of helping the brothers in Jerusalem?
How would you present that if you just gave a long teaching and correction to that same Church, it's kind of hard. It's kind of hard.
So what Paul does then is talks about the virtues of the Church in Macedonia. They have been given and they have been given very generously. How do we know that they have been given?
This is what he does. He talks about that they first gave themselves to God. And isn't that true? For every believer, we belong to God. And if we are not in the habit of giving, we can think of, am I considering myself as independent or that everything that I have, including myself, belongs to God?
That's what the Church of Macedonia believed. And they first showed that they gave themselves to the service of Paul. And then that would include the giving of their money, of their funds.
And one might be thinking, well, because that's okay, because they were wealthy, they had lots of money to spare, and they were able to do these philanthropic drives and they were simply looking for new causes to serve and minister to. Not necessarily they gave out of extreme poverty and limited funds does not necessarily mean that the person is not going to be a giver. If you see yourself as the Church of Macedonia saw themselves, belonging to God, everything you have belongs to God, including your money.
So they abounded in their giving because they started well, they first gave themselves to God.
Paul also uses another example in verse nine, chapter eight. He uses the ultimate example of giving, none other than that of Jesus Christ. Christ, who was rich, became poor for your sake.
And what Paul is doing here then, is he’s introducing the concept of giving so that it's not on your face to give to the Church, because the response naturally for people would be now.
But he's saying, Think about who you are and to whom you belong and everything that you have. Then giving seems more natural.
Generosity then Paul talks about so generous giving follows the example of the Macedonian Church and that of Christ. But then it also leads in excellence, resulting in the outworking of genuine love.
Those are verses, six through eight and ten through 15.
“But as you excel in everything, in faith, speech, knowledge
and in all earnestness and in our love for you,
see that you excelled also in this act of Grace.”
Verse eight says,
“...Prove the earnestness to others through your genuine love.”
And then we have ten through 15. Verse, ten in an excerpt says,
“...who, a year ago you started this.”
then we have verse eleven that says,
“...So now finish doing it. Well,” I'll come back to that. “...But if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what a person does not have.”
I can summarize these verses in the same Paul is talking to the Corinthians who thought they viewed themselves as spiritual believers.
Let us remember, who were the Corinthians. Those were the ones speaking in tongues. Those were the ones taking pride in the biblical knowledge that they had. And in the chapters ahead here in two Corinthians, they will say that they have great speakers and they would say, of Paul, that he is not Well Spoken, he's not a great orator.
So Paul is using that to help them understand they need to give.
And I can summarize this for my audience today, my believers in Christ, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if your maturity in Christ has reached a good level, for example, your Bible knowledge is great. For example, your ability, to serve others, your ability to see the needs of others. We also need to match that level of maturity in our giving.
Paul said to the Corinthians, just like you are speaking in tongues and are very spiritual, in other areas. So also excel in this act of Grace. And he calls it an act of Grace because it's of giving, so it talks about finishing the good purpose and excelling in everything that has been started. It was really the Corinthians idea to collect something to bring relief to the Church in Jerusalem. Paul is just helping them to finish that.
In 1995, it was made known of an 87 year old woman, her name Osiola McCarthy, who had donated, surprisingly, $150,000 to the scholarship program of the University of Mississippi.
$150,000 for a lot of people is not much, to me It's a lot, let me tell you.
But what's remarkable is that this old lady had been saving her money for over 60 years. She herself only had a 6th grade education and she had been forced to drop out of school to help her family in need. And this made it to the news because she had been caring and thinking about those who did not have a chance to get an education. And she wanted to help in any way she could. And she really was helping God values, not necessarily how much you give, but the fact that you give.
If we get in the habit of being generous, that is probably the safest way we can guard our heart against having, love for money. Money itself is not evil, but the love of money is.
Are we giving everything to God? Not just the money, but are we given of our time, our skills, our knowledge? And if we are doing it, how is our monetary giving? Has our Christian life matured in all of these areas?
Not only does Paul point to the generous characteristic, but also to the purpose. That's verse 16 through the next chapter nine until verse five.
Purposeful giving, seeks the integrity before others and God, and it supplies promptly to the needs of others.
We read in verse 18 of chapter eight
“with him, Titus, we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.
And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of Grace that is being ministered by us for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.”
“we take this course so that no one should blame us by this generous gift that is being administered by us.”
“for we aim at what is honorable, not only in the Lord's site,
but also in the sight of men.”
Jump to verse 23.
“As for Titus, he is my partner. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches to the glory of Christ.”
That's why it's said that biblical giving also has a purpose and it seeks the honor and the integrity before God and before man. When we give, we're going to give with reason. We're not just going to spread the wealth, they said. Right.
Spread the wealth really is take from that one who has and give it to the one that doesn't. But what is the purpose?
Now, Paul is very smart. He is sending what I call the Christian crew.
He's sending not only Titus, who is well respected and well commended by Paul,
but he's sending an unnamed brother who is a preacher of the gospel, and he has sent another brother who has been appointed by the Church to deal with the collecting of these offerings.
Giving has reasoning, we're not going to give the funds to one person in the Church. We give to the plural leaders, to multiple persons for accountability. Okay? There is responsibility in multiple leaders.
I remember of an incident that happened with the Jesus Only congregation. We brought a brother to our assemblies because he had been swindled of their money. Not only him, but his entire congregation. Their leader, their pastor had run off with their money in the thousands of dollars.
But their mistake was to hand it to one single person as Godly as that person was at the time. They're putting a snare into the hands of that man or woman.
Has our giving set up a group of people to be in charge of the administration?
It is purposeful because it supplies promptly for the needs of others. In this case it was for the need of the brothers in Jerusalem.
Verse one of chapter nine says,
“It is superfluous to me to write to you about the Ministry for the Saints.”
Back in chapter eight. Verse 14 says,
“Your abundance at the present time should supply their need.”
So it is purposeful because it is fair. When we give, we give to a cause. We do not necessarily give to get rid of the money.
There is a story of a young boy who was running an errand for his mother. He went to the store to get a dozen eggs and as he was running back to the house. He tripped, fell over, and broke the eggs.
Soon, a group of people gathered around him because the sidewalk was a mess. And there was one man who stood up and gave $0.25 a quarter and then turned around back, faced the crowd and said, I care $0.25 worth. How much do you care?
Is there accountability in our fund management? Do you know where your money is going? And do we know who is managing the collection of the money at our Church or at our group? Are we giving relief to those who need it, to the known needs?
There might be quiet needs in the congregation that we do not know of. People that are in need typically do not ask. They only ask the Lord. We need to be more proactive in seeking those needs.
Not only does Paul point to the generous and purposeful characteristics, but also… Biblical giving is joyous, joyous… that is found in verses six through 14. Nine.
It starts with a giver having willingness and cheerfulness, and it ends with a recipient having thankful prayers, and praises to God.
Verse six, of chapter nine.
“The point is this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bound will also reap bountifully each give as he has decided in his heart, …for God loves a cheerful giver.”
“God is able to make all Grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
“As it is written, he has distributed freely, he has given to the poor. His righteousness endures forever”.
Jump up to verse eleven, part B. Through us he will produce Thanksgiving to God.
What Paul is doing in these verses is he's touching the principle of giving. You know what the principle of giving is. God is the ultimate giver, and God enables us to be able to give.
And how will he give you more if you do not share what he has given you? If you share what he has given you, he will give you more so you can continue sharing.
We see that in verse 14 of chapter eight. And we see the principle here cited from Psalm 112, verse nine.
This is not necessarily a New Testament teaching. It has been throughout. God is the one that gives everyone but with a purpose, so that we may abound in every good work, in every good work to me means every aspect that he has enabled you to give to help.
And so it starts with a giver having willingness, we need to be willing to give. And finally with a cheerfulness. And it ends with a recipient having thankfulness in prayer. This is a win-win situation.
This will produce not only Thanksgiving, but also in verse 13 of chapter nine,
“...it will glorify God.”
“...they will long for you and pray for you.”
And finally, in verse 15, he seals the principle
“thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift”
We are able to give simply because he enables us. We just need to continue doing that.
And as a conclusion of all of this,
therefore hearing the generous purposeful and joyous giving,
let us, therefore apply these three characteristics of biblical giving that, Paul points to us. I'll leave you with this quote.
“The happiest people on Earth are the people who have discovered that joy of giving.”
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