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
C. The Encouragement to grace giving. 8:6-10
The Macedonian churches were manifesting the blessings of God that Paul testified of in his letter to the Thessalonican church at a later date –
2 Thessalonians 1:2-4 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
He trusted that the grace of God and the peace of God that had already been working in them would continue to abound. He praised the Lord for their growing faith and their enduring love for one another, even through persecutions and tribulations. This is the soil in which the seed of the Word of God had grown in them and their example had –
1. Created an urgency to act. 2 Corinthians 8:6
Titus had been involved in organizing the offering in Corinth. Paul urged Titus to return, challenging them by the faith of the Macedonian churches to complete the offering that they had promised to collect, not as they had begun, simply through a desire to help, but now to give according to the grace of God.
Titus was to encourage them that their giving should be –
2. Consistent with the grace of God in every area of their lives. 2 Corinthians 8:7
God desires to have the whole person and to bless accordingly. He perfects the believer in correct proportions that He may build His church to glorify Him.
Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
The Lord is concerned how He is manifested to the world!
Ephesians 4:15-16 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
They had everything they needed, yet they had been holding back in this area of giving.
Paul was encouraging them by –
3. Coaching, not commanding. 2 Corinthians 8:8
Paul had provided them with the opportunity to give, not by commandment, but because of their love for the Lord and His people – to have the same mind as the Lord, united in their service, which includes giving. “…let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”
Why, because the Lord gave Himself, committing all to the will of the Father. We need to be –
4. Committed. 2 Corinthians 8:9
The Lord proved the commitment of His love in that He did not hold back anything, but gave Himself wholly unto the will of the Father and for the salvation of man.
a. Serving without love is simply an exercise in religion.
Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
b. Serving with love is the expectation of the Lord.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Let’s use Peter as an illustration of the people in Corinth and believers today – Prove the sincerity of your love –
Sinking in the sea – I was distracted by the storm
Drawing his sword in the garden – I was confused
Denying the Lord in the courtyard – I was afraid
Forsaking the ministry for fishing – I was discouraged
Jesus did not command Him, He challenged the sincerity of Peter’s love!
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
No more excuses! Commit yourself to the Lord and His will!
The church in Corinth needed to stop making excuses for the failure and commit themselves to the Lord in love!
What about you today?