Sufficiency in Christ - Message 7
October 31, 2021
I. Introduction: We continue our survey of 2 Corinthians, Sufficiency in Christ.
A. message is entitled Generosity, and will address financial giving.
- Theme: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)—“For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
- We do not give under compulsion of Old Testament law which required payment of 1/10 of a person’s income; the first tenth, the tithe, belonged to God. (Leviticus 27:28-32)
- We give from appreciation for God’s grace that brought salvation, eternal life, to us.
- We give by grace because of God’s influence in our hearts, which changes us, so that we want to give generously and sacrificially to others in need, especially other believers.
- We give by faith, believing God will meet our needs as we meet the needs of others.
- In 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, Paul introduced the topic of giving by suggesting a financial collection for the church in Jerusalem, where there were many poor believers.
II. Grace giving by faith [is]… (2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15)
A. #1 - Regardless of circumstances. (2 Corinthians 8:1-4. C/R: Luke 3:11; Romans 12:13; 15:25-27; Philippians 4:19) poor region plundered by Romans
- 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 (NLT)—1 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in His kindness [Greek charis, grace] has done through the churches in Macedonia. [also mentioned at Romans 15:25-27; included churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea] 2They are being tested by many troubles [plundered by Rome], and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
- The Macedonian churches were struggling, perhaps because of their faith, they might have lost jobs or been excluded from trade guilds because they rejected idolatry.
- 2 Corinthians 8:3-4 (NLT)—3For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will [gave willingly and sacrificially, likely w/o Paul asking]. 4They begged us again and again for the privilege [charis, grace, the blessing] of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.
- The Macedonians had needs but begged for the blessing of helping the Jerusalem believers because they received the gospel from them and felt indebted. (Romans 15:27)
- When we have experienced the grace of God, we will not look for excuses to avoid giving; we will look for opportunities to give, regardless of our circumstances.
- Grace not only frees us from our sins; it frees us from ourselves, so we can give by faith, trusting God to meet our heeds as we meet the needs of others. (Romans 12:13; Philippians 4:19)
- APP.: Have you experienced God’s grace? Does it cause you to give? (Luke 3:11)
Grace giving by faith…
C. #2 - Reflects generosity of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 8:5-9. C/R: John 10:18; 17:5; Philippians 2:6-8; 1 John 3:16)
- 2 Corinthians 8:5-9 (NLT)—5They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
6So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving. [charis, “this grace,” (act of)]
7Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving [Greek charis, lit. “this grace”]. [Service not a substitute for giving.]
8I am not commanding you to do this. [Grace giving must be willing.] But I am testing how genuine your love is [for Jesus and other believers] by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. 9You know the generous grace [charis] of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich [pre-existent in heaven’s glory; John 17:5], yet for your sakes He became poor [human, social standing, became sin for us], so that by His poverty [suffering and death] He could make you rich. [gift of salvation, inheritance of God’s kingdom, righteousness, glorification; Philippians 2:6-8; John 10:18; 1 John 3:16]
- Paul challenged the Corinthians to display their love by imitating Jesus’ self-sacrifice.
- If we give ourselves to God, we will also give our possessions to Him.
- APP.: Does your life and your giving habits reflect the generosity of Jesus?
Grace giving by faith…
D. #3 - Remembers to follow through. (2 Corinthians 8:10-15. C/R: Mark 12:41-44; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:17)
- 2 Corinthians 8:10-11a (NLT)—10Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. [Paul encouraged collection a year earlier; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4] Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11aNow you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.
- Follow through! Intent is not sufficient; promise must be fulfilled! (ILL.: my experience)
- 2 Corinthians 8:11b-12 (NLT)— 11b Give in proportion to what you have. 12Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly [Greek prŏthumia, readily, willingly]. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. [widow’s mite; Mark 12:41-44]
- Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give according to their desire and means.
- When we give willingly, according to what we have, we are practicing grace giving.
- 2 Corinthians 8:13 (NLT)—Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality.
- Paul does not intend the churches in Corinth and Jerusalem to trade financial situations;
- 2 Corinthians 8:14 (NLT)—Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. [Situation might reverse later.][James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:17; Hebrews 13:16]
Paul recommended churches to aid one another in difficult times, such as during famine.
- 2 Corinthians 8:15 (NLT)—As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” [Exodus 16:18; God supplied the needs of the Israelites in the wilderness by providing manna and quail.]
- Lesson: Gather what you need, share what you can, if you hoard God’s provision, it will rot (manna got maggots, stunk; Exodus 16:20);
- He knows what you need, rely on Him.
- APP.: Do you rely on God to supply what do you need or do you hoard His gifts?
Grace giving by faith…
E. #4 - Realizes God is provider. (2 Corinthians 9:6-10. C/R: Proverbs 19:17; Matthew 6:31-33; Luke 6:38; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NLT)—6Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.[You reap what you sow.”] 7You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
- Our motive in giving matters to God; if we cannot give cheerfully, joyfully (Greek hilarŏs, “hilarious”) or if we don’t give at all, we must ask God to touch our hearts with His grace, so our gift can be used and our lives will be blessed. [Proverbs 19:17; 1 Timothy 6:17-19]
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT)—And God will generously provide [charis] all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
- The Corinthians may have been hesitant to give because of the uncertainty of their lives.
- Paul reminded them that God is faithful; He will provide all they need and give them enough extra so they can be generous with others (specifically the Jerusalem church).
- 2 Corinthians 9:9 (NLT)—As the Scriptures [Psalm 112:9] say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
- Sharing possessions and giving to the poor are expressions of God’s righteousness.
- 2 Corinthians 9:10 (NLT)—For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. [Isaiah 55:10] In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. [Matthew 6:31-33; Luke 6:38]
- God provides for His creation, so the Corinthian believers could feel confident to give generously to the collection, without fearing that their own needs will go unmet.
- APP.: Do you give cheerfully, trusting God to meet your future needs?
Grace giving by faith…
F. #5 - Results in glory for God. (2 Corinthians 9:11-15; C/R: Isaiah 58:10; Matthew 5:16)
- 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 (NLT)—11Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. [God’s excess blessings are so we can give, not so we can gather.] And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. [Matthew 5:16]
- The Corinthian’s generosity would not only benefit the church in Jerusalem by meeting their needs, but it would also cause them to praise God for His gracious provision.
- 2 Corinthians 9:13-14 (NLT)—13As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace [charis] God has given to you. [Kindness through generosity]
- Thousands of children in India pray for us; they know God provides for them through us.
- 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NLT)—Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
- Jesus graciously gave us salvation through His life, death, and resurrection!
- APP.: Does the generosity of Jesus giving us eternal life encourage generosity in you?
Set Free Alliance – began as church-wide missions endeavor in 2011 after prayer, fasting, vote.
- SFA Currently caring for 9128 children at a cost of $58 per rescued child per month.
- BW supports 1,120 children through Ministry Plan amount of $864,000 (plus direct support)
- 1808 children are currently supported through monthly giving from the US (many BWers).
- 1480 children are supported monthly from Indian churches, businesses, and program graduates.
- Totals: over 50,000 children rescued from slavery, 38,000+ reunited with their families
- 910 graduated vocational training programs, employed, give back from salaries to care for others.
- The greatest need for Set Free is financial support for monthly care. Will you help?
Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)—You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”