2 Corinthians 8:1-12 The Grace Of Giving Part 1

by | Apr 11, 2023 | 2 Corinthians, New Testament

I. Background

A. Paul Was Gathering An Offering That Had Been Pledged

1. A large part of Paul’s work during his 3rd missionary journey was receiving a “relief offering” for the poor Christians in Judea.

2. Paul had more than just physical blessings in mind.

3. He saw this giving to those who were in need, as an act of church unity.

4. It was also an act of gratitude and debt owed to the Jewish Churches.

5. Romans 15:25-27 25But now I am going to Jerusalem to [i]minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.

B. The Offering Had Been Delayed

1. The Christians at Corinth had made a promise to help the Jewish Christians in Judea but had not fulfilled their commitment.

2. In fact, it had been a year since their first promises to give had been made.

3. What had been the delay in gathering relief funds?

a. Probably the low level of spirituality at the church. They were quite carnal.

b. Also, the Judaizers had probably taken much of the money for themselves.

4. The need was still there, and so Paul addresses the need.

5. But he is careful to speak of giving as it should be spoken of.

a. A spiritual action.

b. Motivated by spiritual intentions.

c. With many benefits and blessings from God.

II. What Is Christian Giving?

A. It Is Not Just Emotional Or Pragmatic

1. There are many instances when people give to causes dear to their hearts.

2. Mercy towards humanity. Concern for the environment.

3. Humanly motivated and humanly managed.

4. “Non-Christian” giving can bring temporary benefit. It is good, but not the best.

5. It is not motivated by concern for God’s Kingdom or people’s eternal well-being.
B. Christian Giving Is A Grace From God

1. Christian giving is different in that people are motivated by God for the purposes of God.

2. Grace/gift- charis. Found 9 times in these 2 chapters. 9 times in 39 verses.

3. See…8:1, 8:4, 8:6, 8:7, 8:9, 8:16, 8:19, 9:8, 9:14

4. When a word is repeated that often, that is an indication of what the focus is.

5. Grace-Primarily speaks of God’s undeserved favor towards mankind.

a. Especially speaks of God’s undeserved favor in sending Jesus to die for our sins.

b. That which brings joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

c. Good will, loving-kindness, favor

d. The merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

e. The spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace

C. God’s Grace On The Macedonians

1. Paul speaks of the Macedonian churches.

2. This would have included Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica.

3. Some commentators say that the Macedonians were givers b/c they were appreciative of God’s grace to them. They were thankful for God’s love, and for their salvation.

4. I’m sure that is all true. But that is not what the text tells us.

5. Their willingness to give was a grace. God had gifted them with the willingness to give.

6. God had gifted them with a deep conviction about the rightness of giving.

a. Read 8:1; 8:6, 7. Giving is a gift

b. The willingness and conviction to give is a gift from God.

c. We are gifted by God with a willingness and an understanding to give.

III. What Grace Giving Looks Like Vs. 1-12

A. Grace To Give In Spite of Circumstances Vs. 1, 2

1. The ability and willingness to give is a grace bestowed upon us by God.

2. It is divinely inspired, and is a beautiful, gracious, and lovely thing.

3. The churches in Macedonia had been particularly blessed by God in this way.

4. great trial of affliction- The Macedonians had not just had trials. They had severe trials.

5. their deep poverty- A beggar who has nothing and has no hope of getting anything.

6. Their trials and their poverty did not keep them from giving.

7. We should not allow circumstances to keep us from giving to the Lord, and to further His purposes upon this earth.

8. It is a divine thing when a person can be aware of their financial problems, and still be convinced that it is right to give to the Lord.

9. That is truly a work of God’s grace. That is grace giving.

C. Grace To Give Enthusiastically Vs. 3, 4

1. It is possible to give generously, but not give enthusiastically.

2. The Macedonian church needed no prompting to give.

3. They did not have to be told to “give ‘til it hurts, dig deep.”

4. They were more than willing to share in the collection. They begged to be included.

5. People don’t usually beg the church to receive an offering, but these people did!

6. Their giving was spontaneous and voluntary. It was of grace, and not of pressure.

7. They gave because they had experienced the grace of God.

8. They gave b/c God gifted them with the willingness to give.

9. fellowship of ministering to the saints- Their giving was an act of ministry to other Christians. They would share the blessing in ministering to the others.

10. Giving is a ministry, a spiritual service.

11. Grace not only frees us from our sins, it frees us from ourselves.

12. The grace of God opens your eyes, opens your heart, and opens your hand.

D. Grace To Give As Jesus Gave Vs. 5-9

1. Jesus is always the example for the Christian, in all things.

2. When we give to the Lord, it is because we have first given ourselves to God, and then to others by the will of God.

3. Jesus gave Himself for us, for our benefit. Galatians 2:20

4. When we realize the grace bestowed upon us, we freely give ourselves to God.

5. When we give ourselves to God, we have little trouble in giving our resources to God.

6. Paul sent Titus to Corinth, that the fullness of this grace might be brought to completion.

7. That they would have the opportunity to fulfill their intentions as well.

8. Vs. 6, 7– Paul again calls giving a “grace.”

9. The Corinthians were rich in the gifts/graces of the Spirit.

10. But they fell behind in some of the graces of the Spirit, including giving.

11. Paul says that they abounded in love, but that it should shown by giving.

12. Spiritual gifts and spiritual service can never be interpreted as a substitute for giving.

13. They abounded in so many things: speech, knowledge, diligence, love, charismatic gifts.

14. All those things were not substitutes for giving!

15. Paul said that they should abound in this grace also.

16. V. 8- Paul was not commanding them to give.

a. He was pointing out the good example of the Macedonians.

b. The Macedonians gave even though they were poor, so that others could benefit.

c. Paul said that the Corinthians now had an opportunity to prove their love

d. Grace giving is an evidence of love. Love for God, for His people, for those in need.

E. Grace To Give Sacrificially V. 9

1. V. 9- Their giving was to be sacrificial.

2. Jesus was rich in so many ways.

a. Perfect fellowship w/ Father.

b. No problems in Heaven.

c. No problems w/ human body, social, emotional, mental problems which we have.

d. Rich in power over all creation, exalted and worthy of all praise.

e. The angels worshipped Him and served Him.

3. Jesus was rich but became poor.

a. He left the throne to become a servant.

b. Human body.

c. No material goods. No place to put His head.

4. The grace to give also includes the fact that you understand the grace God has given you in salvation. You understand that Jesus became poor to make you rich.

5. Grace to understand the grace we have been given, so that we can be gracious.

6. His willing steps to spiritual poverty made us spiritually rich.

7. Sacrifice brought blessing. Grace giving includes sacrificial giving.

F. Grace To Give Willingly Vs. 10-12

1. Paul acknowledges that there was a willingness to give.

2. That is the most important thing, a God given willingness.

3. But Paul challenged them to follow thru with their intentions and promises.

4. Good intentions were only the beginning of the action. It was still incomplete.

5. Being willing is not a substitute for doing.

6. When we are willing, we should give according to what we are able.

7. God sees the “heart gift”, not the “hand gift”.

8. Wiersbe- Christian giving does not depend on material circumstances so much as spiritual convictions.

9. God will notice, reward, and bless us according to what we are able to give, wanting to give, and what we finally follow through on.

10. God does not measure the portion, but the proportion.

11. Turn to Mark 12:41-44