I. The Explanation of His Actions. 2 Corinthians 1:3-2:13
II. The Exhortation to Understanding. 2 Corinthians 3:1-7:1
III. The Earnest Desire for Unity. 7:2-16
IV. The Encouragement in giving. 2 Corinthians 8:1 – 9:15
A. Introduction in Giving.
B. The Example of grace giving. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
1. The condition of the churches. 2 Corinthians 8:2a
a. They were planted in adversity.
Acts 17:4-5 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
b. They produced faith in affliction.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-7 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
c. They prospered in the grace of God.
1 Thessalonians 3:2-6 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
2. The conviction of the churches to give. 2 Corinthians 8:2b,3
a. They were encouraged in spite of their poverty.
b. They were encouraged in spite of their position in the community – looked down on.
c. They were encouraged by the grace of God in their lives!
Based on this encouragement, they made their demand and put forth –
3. The claim of the churches as to their right to give. 2 Corinthians 8:4
“… Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift…”
“Who are you to tell us that we cannot take part in this fellowship of ministry”!
4. The consecration of the churches unto the Lord. 2 Corinthians 8:5
a. Dedicated to the Lord.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
b. Directed by His Word.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1). Convinced of the principle of giving.
James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
2). Committed to the principle of providing.
God ordained that man would work for his provisions. Even when God supernaturally provided the Manna in the wilderness, men had to go forth each day and collect it, enough only for each day! The people in these churches trusted the Lord in giving what they had, and in seeking more from the Lord to give, determining to work each day for the provision of God. They asked God to bless the work of their hands and provide abundantly. Remember God’s promise of provision in –
Leviticus 25:19-22 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.
They were to trust God to bless their work by being obedient to Him. They would not just sit back and expect God to pick up the check. They would enter into the fields and serve Him though their labour. The Macedonian churches had learned this principle and trusted God accordingly. Gave through the grace of God.
The grace of God is not to be presumed upon, it is to be planned for, seeking the leadership of God.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
5. The conclusion to be drawn from their participation. 2 Corinthians 8:1
a. God’s grace is sufficient for all of their needs and for their desires to fellowship in the work of the Lord.
b. God’s grace is often unused through lack of faith.
The Macedonian churches took advantage of the wonderful grace of God and did not want to leave anything behind.
Do you believe God’s grace is sufficient for you today?
To save you?
To keep you?
To provide for you?