"SECOND CORINTHIANS – EXPOSITORY OUTLINES"
Giving Par Excellence (2 Cor 8:1-7)
1. An important element of Christian service is that of "giving"…
a. Following the NT pattern of taking up a collection, we lay by in
store on the first day of the week – 1 Co 16:1-2
b. With such benevolence we seek to provide for needy saints, and
support the work of the church
2. What is the best way to motivate Christians to give liberally?
a. Many often appeal to OT examples of giving
b. E.g., the Israelites and how they were expected to tithe
c. The argument goes something like this:
1) God required the Israelites to give a tithe (ten percent)
2) In the New Covenant we enjoy greater blessings than those
under the Old Covenant
3) So our giving should be at least ten percent if not greater
3. Yet the apostle Paul, seeking to inspire the Corinthians to abound
in the grace of giving, used the example of the churches of
Macedonia – 2 Cor 8:1-7
4. Shouldn’t we do the same?
a. Why use an example where people gave out of COMPULSION (as was
the case in the OT practice of tithing)…
b. …when our giving is to be a FREEWILL offering? –
cf. 2 Cor 8:12; 2 Cor 9:7
— Indeed, I believe the Macedonians provide a much better role
model when it comes to Christian liberality!
[With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the churches at
Macedonia who are set before us as examples of "Giving Par
I. WHO WERE THE CHURCHES OF MACEDONIA?
A. THE CHURCH AT PHILIPPI…
1. We read of its beginning in Acts 16:11-40
a. With the conversion of Lydia and her household
1) Note her hospitality – Ac 16:15
2) Was this an indication of things to come?
b. And the conversion of the Philippian Jailor and his family
1) He too showed hospitality – Ac 16:34
2) Another example which may help us to appreciate what we
learn later on
c. Paul then had to leave abruptly because of the persecution
– Ac 16:39-40
2. The epistle to the Philippians was written to them, in which
a. They helped Paul throughout his ministry –
Ph 1:3-5; Ph 4:10; Ph 4:14-18
b. They had continued to suffer for Christ – Ph 1:27-30
B. THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA…
1. We read of its beginning in Acts 17:1-10
a. Many were converted – Ac 17:4
b. Persecution against them soon arose – Ac 17:5-9
c. Requiring Paul to leave suddenly – Ac 17:10
2. The epistles to the Thessalonians were written to this church
a. They too continued to have trouble – 1 Th 2:14; 2 Th 1:4-5
b. They excelled in the matter of brotherly love – 1 Th 4:9-10
[With this background on the churches of Macedonia, we should not be
surprised that they are presented as a case of "Giving Par Excellence".
As we return to our text (2 Cor 8:1-7), let’s seek to answer the
II. WHAT CHARACTERIZED THEIR GIVING?
A. THEY GAVE "SACRIFICIALLY" – 2 Cor 8:2-3a
1. We’ve seen that they were in the midst of great affliction (v 2)
2. They were experiencing poverty themselves (v 2)
3. Yet they gave "beyond their ability" (v 3a)
4. This they were not expected to do – cf. 2 Cor 8:12-13
B. THEY GAVE "JOYFULLY" – 2 Cor 8:2
1. Somehow they had discovered "the joy of giving"
2. Perhaps they took to heart the teaching of…
a. The Lord relating to the blessedness of giving – Ac 20:35
b. James to the value of persecution – Ja 1:2-4
3. In any case, this is the kind of giving that God loves – 2 Cor 9:7
C. THEY GAVE "VOLUNTARILY" – 2 Cor 8:3
1. They were "freely willing"
2. This is the kind of giving God requires today…
a. We can not command people to give against their will –
cf. 2 Cor 8:8
b. We can only command how it is to be done to help needy
saints abroad – cf. 1 Co 16:1-4
c. Giving must come from "a willing mind" – 2 Cor 8:12
d. Giving must never be done "begrudgingly" or because you
"have to" – 2 Cor 9:7
e. Otherwise, you might as well not give at all
D. THEY GAVE "PERSISTENTLY" – 2 Cor 8:4
1. As Paul says, "imploring us with much urgency"
2. They wouldn’t take "no" for an answer (or for an easy way
3. With the Philippians, we know their giving to Paul persisted
throughout his life
E. THEY GAVE "THEMSELVES" – 2 Cor 8:5
1. Perhaps this explains how they were able to give as they did!
2. They gave themselves "first to the Lord"
a. When a person does this, they do not worry about "the cost
b. For they have the promise of Jesus in Mt 6:25-34
3. Having given themselves first to the Lord, it is only natural
that they would give "then to us (others)"
a. For such is a mark of true discipleship – cf. Jn 13:34-35
b. And it is a mark of true love for God – cf. 1 Jn 4:20-21
1. What a example to motivate us in the art of giving!
2. Here are churches that were not expected to give because of their
a. Yet they gave:
b. They gave:
1) To support preachers in the spread of the gospel
2) To help needy Christians in a foreign land
3) To help an old preacher in his time of need
3. Their example is much better than the "tithing" in the OT!
a. And there are others we could have referred to: Jerusalem,
b. Of course, the supreme example is that of Jesus Christ – 2 Cor 8:9
4. Brethren, what kind of givers are we?
a. Those who give out of compulsion, with a grudging obligation?
b. Or those who like the Macedonians "beg" for the opportunity to
— May the churches of Macedonia serve to remind us of what is
involved in "Giving Par Excellence!"
Finally, have you thought about what kind of "recipient" you are?
Christ became poor that we might be rich (2 Cor 8:9). Have you accepted
His gracious offer properly, or has it been offered in vain…
"We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to
receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: "In an acceptable
time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped
you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of
salvation." (2 Cor 6:1-2)
Let the Jews on the Day of Pentecost be your example of "receiving par
excellence" as how one ought to receive the grace of God today! –
cf. Ac 2:36-41