God has given us a beautiful description of New Testament giving, and His instruction to us for financial giving. We should marvel as God’s wonderful plan that allow us to join Him in blessing the world with His Truth.
The context of 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 is Paul’s desire to help Christians in Jerusalem who are suffering from lack of financial resources. Paul was on a journey collecting money from churches outside of Jerusalem to help the Christians in Jerusalem.
In Paul’s instruction for New Testament giving, we have two chapters in God’s Holy Book dedicated to helping us know how to give.
A simple question: Why do you think God gave us two chapters on giving?
The Macedonian Churches set the Example for Giving
Macedonia was roughly in the southern Balkins and Greece.
2 Corinthians 8:1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
- It is God’s unmerited favor that motivates one to sacrificially give.
- The ability to sacrificially give is not limited by wealth.
- Extraordinary enthusiasm accompanies sacrificial giving.
2 Corinthians 8:6 So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.
Titus was assigned to help the Corinthian church collect funds for the offering for the needy saints. Paul is saying to the Corinthians that Titus needed to complete the task which he had started. Once a commitment has been made, it is very important to carry it to its conclusion. God does not like unkept promises.
2 Corinthians 8:7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
Giving is one gracious work in us. We show God’s work in us by our willingness to give.
2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
We are not commanded to give, but giving shows our love in a tangible way. There is a saying, “Talk is Cheap.” It means that anyone can say anything, but the proof is in what they actually do. Talk is cheap but giving is not.
Jesus is our Example for Giving
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
What does Jesus example have to do with giving?
What we say, We should do
2 Corinthians 8:10 I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. 11 But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.
The desire placed in our heart by God should be acted upon. This is how Deb and I became missionaries. It was our fervent desire that helped us through the very difficult times.
Giving is a Matter of Equality
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
Friend, How would you summarize this?
Giving must be done Wisely
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord. 18 We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches; 19 and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, 20 taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; 21 for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. 22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.
Why did the churches appoint a team to collect the offering for the needy saints?
Giving reveals our Love
2 Corinthians 8:24 Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.
Giving must be administered wisely
2 Corinthians 9:1 For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints; 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; 4 otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to speak of you—will be put to shame by this confidence.5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.
Why did Paul send a team to Corinth ahead of himself?
The Law of Sowing and Reaping
2 Corinthians 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
What does this verse mean? We have seen this principle repeatedly in our study.
Biblical Giving is Purposeful Giving
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
What should be our feeling when giving?
God takes care of the those who Give
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
What does God do for those who give?
Giving accomplishes many Wonderful Things
2 Corinthians 9:12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
What does graceful giving accomplish?
Giving back is Awesome!
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!