GOOD INTENTIONS IN GIVING MUST BE CONSUMMATED ACCORDING TO YOUR ABILITY – OR IDEALLY BEYOND YOUR ABILITY
Principle: you can never out give the Grace of God
II. (8:1 – 9:15) POVERTY OF FELLOW BELIEVERS PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD’S GRACE AND SUFFICIENCY TO BE DISPLAYED IN GENEROUS CHRISTIAN GIVING (OFFERED FREELY FROM THE HEART AND ADMINISTERED WITH INTEGRITY)
(PAUL’S PLEA FOR PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF FELLOWSHIP IN GOD’S GRACIOUS WORK OF GENEROUS GIVING)
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (9:8)
I. (:1-5) IT IS COMMENDABLE TO GIVE BEYOND YOUR ABILITY – EXAMPLE OF THE MACEDONIANS – THEIR STRONG DESIRE TO GIVE
A. (:1) The Grace of God is the Key to Giving
“Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia”
We do God a disservice whenever we add any elements of legalism into Christian giving.
Pounds: The Macedonians make it absolutely clear that our stewardship does not depend upon our circumstances. It depends upon the quality of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We give because He first gave to us His amazing grace. . .
The only true motive for giving is the grace of God. We give because of God’s goodness to us. If God has not done anything good for you please do not give a dime. However, if you are the recipient of His abundant amazing grace then pour it out according to the measure you have received. It is a privilege and opportunity to be involved in the stewardship of grace. It is not our duty; it is our privilege. God invites us to come and join Him in what He is doing. That includes our giving.
B. (:2) Poverty Does Not Have to be a Limitation to Generous Giving
“that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.”
Everyone can participate in the privilege of giving since it is not conditioned on having an abundance of wealth.
C. (3-4) Viewing Giving as a Privilege Motivates Sacrificial Giving Beyond One’s Ability
“For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,”
Voluntary giving without any compulsion must be the rule; here the compulsion is turned around so that the givers are begging for the privilege of participating
D. (:5) Giving Must be Preceded by Consecration
“and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.”
II. (:6-11a) IT IS COMMENDABLE TO EXCEL IN THIS GRACIOUS WORK OF GIVING – CALL TO THE CORINTHIANS – THEIR DUTY TO CONSUMMATE THEIR GOOD INTENTIONS
A. (:7) Excelling in Giving Should be High on Your List of Priorities
“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.”
B. (:8) Excelling in Giving Proves the Sincerity of Your Love
“I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.”
C. (:9) Excelling in Giving Follows the Pattern of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
D. (:10) Excelling in Giving Works to Your Advantage
“And 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.”
E. (:11a) Just Do It! – Good Intentions are not Enough – You Must Consummate Your Giving
“But now finish doing it also; that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it”
III. (:11b-15) THE RATIONALE FOR GIVING ACCORDING TO ONE’S ABILITY IS THE PRINCIPLE OF EQUALITY (NOT SHIFTING THE BURDEN TO YOURSELF) – FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN GIVING
A. (:11b) Willingness to Give Must be Consummated According to Your Ability
“that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.”
B. (:12) Giving Evaluated Based on One’s Resources
“For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have.”
C. (:13-15) Principle of Equality Applies to Mutual Giving – Not Shifting the Burden to Yourself
“For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality – at this present time your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality; as it is written, ‘He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.’”
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1) As the Lord of our life, Jesus Christ deserves our total consecration as the starting point for whatever steps of obedience we take in individual areas like giving.
2) What high price did Christ pay for the privilege of giving His riches to us? Is it really Christian giving if we do not feel any cost? Do we consider ourselves rich because of what Christ has provided for us?
3) How did Christ exemplify giving beyond His ability rather than just giving in accordance with His ability?
4) What is the current extent of Christ’s riches?