2 Corinthians 8-9 | Moved to Zeal by the Zeal of Others in Benevolent Giving

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 – The Macedonians | Abundance Through Trials.

The brethren in the Macedonian region were often beset with troubles from their neighbors. Recall that Paul and Silas were beaten with rods in Philippi, the first city they stopped at.

In Thessalonica, a mob surrounded Jason’s house, dragging Jason and other brethren before the city authorities. Paul gave thanks to God for the Thessalonian’s faithfulness.

Paul’s description of the Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 They received the word with much tribulation. Their neighbors persecuted them extensively. As such they could deeply empathize with the brethren in Judea; who were likewise persecuted by their Jewish brethren as blasphemers and heretics.

The unbelieving Jews of Thessalonica were so aggressive that they chased Paul and Silas down to Berea try and stir the crowds against Paul.

This is just a taste of the great ordeal of affliction. From this affliction came an abundance of joy. For they learned to hold fast to the God of all comfort all the more. Learning to wait patiently upon the Lord and His deliverance.

From their deep poverty, they overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. It isn’t they suddenly got more money. Rather they had an open and giving heart. They wanted to support the needy saints in Judea, for whom they have a new kinship; that found in shared suffering for the name of Jesus.

From this deep well of faith they were moved to give to the needy saints. Nobody put a guilt trip on them. Nobody sold them on this great mission to the land of Judea. Nope, they heard of the need, and that those in the Achaian region were going to be sending funds down to Judea and they wanted to be a part of it. Now Macedonia was not famously a rich place. But they begged Paul to let them in on this. They were going to do their part joyously.

The widow and her two mites.

Mark 12:41–44 Like the widow, they first gave themselves to the Lord. Trusting in His providence and mercy. The Macedonians committed themselves to the traditions of the apostles; and became beacons of truth in the world. The church in Philippi sent time and again to his needs in support of the spreading of the gospel.

The Macedonians were not generally wealthy, though Lydia the seller of purple might have been. Yet the Corinthians were known to be a people of quite some means. This entire section is quite tactfully done by Paul, to stir them up for this good work.

2 Corinthians 8:6-8 – Take courage from the liberality of the Macedonians.

Paul wants to Corinthians to abound in living faith just as much as the Macedonians. The liberality of the Macedonians is an encouragement to us all. It is easy to be miserly. It is harder to trust in the Lord Jesus as the widow with her mites did.

Giving is not by way of compulsion. Yet when we see the earnestness of others we might be moved to a like zeal. Good examples encourage us to greater action.

2 Corinthians 8:9 – Christ’s poverty to become our great wealth.

Let us have the attitude of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:1-11

The Christ gave up the riches of heaven, to come down to redeem us who are poverty stricken.

2 Corinthians 8:10-15 – Be ready to give according to what you have been given.

First to desire to do it and begin. Then the churches in Galatia got in on it.

the method to use for this collection:

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

  • First day of the week
  • give as you have been prospered
  • saving this money for its proper use and time
    • that no emergency collection need to be made.

2 Corinthians 8:16-23 – Good and godly administration of financial matters.

This is plainly good administration, honorable in the sight of God and men. These are tested and diligent men, partners in the gospel of Christ. These are not men who are self-appointed, but rather they are chosen and sent by the churches to do this good work.

2 Corinthians 8:24-9:2 – Let your yes be yes and no your no.

Paul doesn’t want the wealthy Corinthians to look bad. But if they have been laying by in store for a year, they should already have it all set aside. Of course, the Corinthians don’t always listen to Paul, and have to be corrected. But here Paul is delicate with them, because they are not being commanded to do this, rather this is an act of love on their part.

2 Corinthians 9:3-5 – Be stirred up by the zeal of one another.

Their zeal has stirred up a great many others to join in the giving. How embarrassing it would be indeed for them and Paul if they didn’t do what they said they’d do.

After all, this should be a gift of love. Not a thing that Paul wrings out of them through guilt or other social pressures. By sending the reminder of the due date, he is giving room for this grace to abound in spirit and truth.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 – It is better to give than receive.

The miser receives little in the way of the blessings that come from giving.

Jesus said

It is better to give than to receive.

That doesn’t mean we never receive, but that we keep our eyes open for those to whom we may give.

If you are begrudging in giving, or feel it is under compulsion, then the giving is false. One must change the heart to be a cheerful giver. The Lord scatters His mercies everywhere, He gives to the poor and meek; He does this righteousness forever, it does not fail.

2 Corinthians 9:12-15 – Liberal giving causing thanks to be given by everyone involved.

A liberal attitude towards giving is a deep blessing for all involved. And it produces thanksgiving to God on all sides. What more do we need than this for a reason to give and to receive.

Yet there is still more reason to do have this grace. We who have confessed the good news of Christ have every reason to glorify God in this way and more. It all stems from this basic fact.

The Christ came down from heaven, He made Himself poor that we might be made rich. That the grace of God might be poured out on men.

Ephesians 2:8-10 – We are made for doing good works.

We are made for doing good works, like sending support to the needy saints. Like sending out preachers and teachers as the Philippian brethren did with Paul.

Galatians 6:6-10 – We must sow the spirit to reap the Spirit.

We must not be a people looking to horde money. We are not dragons sitting on gold. We are saints of God, chosen in Christ Jesus to sow to the Spirit that which is the Spirit’s due.

What choices are you making in your life that don’t match up with this? In what areas are you lacking in this grace or any other; where are you sowing to the flesh?

There is but one way to God, that is Christ Jesus. What is holding you back from sowing to the Spirit?

Let that go today.

Come forward today:
  • Repent back to God,
  • confessing His holy name
  • and be baptized into Christ Jesus.
  • And walk in His grace,
  • walk in the faith.

Appendix A: Appendix of Verses | by order of appearance

  1. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 – The Macedonians | Abundance Through Trials.
    1. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 – Paul’s description of the Thessalonians.
    2. Mark 12:41-44 – the widow and her two mites.
  2. 2 Corinthians 8:6-8 – Take courage from the liberality of the Macedonians.
  3. 2 Corinthians 8:9 – Christ’s poverty to become our great wealth.
    1. Philippians 2:1-11 – Let us have the attitude of Christ Jesus.
  4. 2 Corinthians 8:10-15 – Be ready to give according to what you have been given.
    1. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 – On the first day of the week, as you’ve prospered, saving that it be used at the proper time.
  5. 2 Corinthians 8:16-23 – Good and godly administration of financial matters.
  6. 2 Corinthians 8:24-9:2 – Let your yes be yes and no your no.
  7. 2 Corinthians 9:3-5 – Be stirred up by the zeal of one another.
  8. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 – It is better to give than receive.
  9. 2 Corinthians 9:12-15 – Liberal giving causing thanks to be given by everyone involved.
    1. Ephesians 2:8-10 – We are made for doing good works.
    2. Galatians 6:6-10 – We must sow the spirit to reap the Spirit.