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It's The Principle

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2 Corinthians 8:8–12 NKJV
I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
2 Cor. 8:8-

Introduction

Big Worm

April 26, 1995

F. Gary Gray directed it
Ice Cube co-wrote and co starred with Chris Tucker
Have an encounter wit Faison Love “Big Worm”
they must pay $200 by 10pm
after realizing that they had mismangaged his “resources” worm tells Smokey that he must apply himself.
Although this was not law binding that he might pay him back Worm lets Craig and Smokey know to the reason why it is getting more serious because “It’s the principle of the whole thing. It’s principalities in this.”
Malachi 3:10 NKJV
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi 3:10

Tithing Principle

The Big Idea

Background

In these verses Paul uses the example of the Macedonians’ remarkably generous response to the collection appeal to motivate the Corinthians to carry out what they had previously shown themselves ready to do, to provide relief for the saints in Jerusalem.
1–2. Paul begins by making known to his readers the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia. The Roman province of Macedonia comprised the northern part of Greece wherein were found the Pauline churches at Philippi and Thessalonica, and also possibly a church at Beroea (cf. ). The apostle regards the liberality of the Macedonians as the result of God’s grace in their lives. God is generous (v. 9; ; ; cf. ; ) and where his grace is truly experienced in people’s lives the evidence will be a similar love and generosity (cf. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ).
The quite remarkable evidence of God’s grace in the churches of Macedonia is shown by the fact that their generosity was exercised in most adverse circumstances. First, it was in a severe test of affliction. The birth of the churches in Macedonia was accompanied by much opposition, both to the apostolic team and to the new converts (see the accounts of the mission in Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea in ), and Paul was still vividly aware of that when he wrote to the churches of Thessalonica and Philippi (; , ; ; ; ). And the churches of Macedonia were again (or still) embroiled in persecution when Paul wrote to Corinth from Macedonia (). Second, and equally remarkable, was the fact that the Macedonian churches responded out of their extreme poverty. Later in the chapter Paul will talk about the need for equality, one church’s abundance supplying another’s want (vv. 13–15).The Macedonians were notable in generosity because they responded while being in a condition of great want themselves.
Paul says of the Macedonians that it was their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty which overflowed in a wealth of liberality. It was the joy of the Macedonians which overflowed in liberality. Jesus told the Twelve when he sent them out on the Galilean mission, ‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (, niv). The Macedonian Christians knew the joy of being the recipients of God’s free giving, and in that joy they gave freely. Because of their own situation, what they gave was probably quite a small amount, but measured against their extreme poverty it represented a wealth of liberality (cf. ).
3–5. Here Paul further explains the nature of the remarkable generosity of the Macedonian churches. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify. The expression according to their means (kata dynamin) is very common in the papyri, especially in marriage contracts where a husband promises to provide food and clothing for his wife ‘according to his means’. Paul testifies that the Macedonians have done all that could be expected of them; they have responded to the appeal according to their means. But Paul feels forced to add and beyond their means. Once again the papyri throw light upon the significance of this sort of expression. ‘Beyond one’s means’ (para dynamin) is found in the context of a man’s complaint against his wife for whom he has provided beyond what his means really allowed. So Paul says of the Macedonians that they have contributed to the collection for the poor in a way that was over and above anything that could be expected, given their situation.
All this they have done of their own free will, even, Paul says, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints. Contained in this verse are three key words used by Paul in relation to the collection, (a) Favour (charis) is used to show that the Macedonians regarded the opportunity to contribute as a favour or privilege. They evidently understood the truth of Jesus’ words, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (). (b) Taking part (koinōnia) indicates that their involvement was seen as participation in a larger entity, i.e. an ‘ecumenical’ act of compassion, (c) Relief renders the Greek word diakonia, and its use here reflects the fact that contributing to the collection was viewed as Christian ‘ministry’. This was a ministry in which the Philippian church at least was involved over a long period of time ().
Finally, Paul testifies that this outstanding act of generosity was not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. What apparently surprised Paul was that the Macedonians did not only give their money out of compassion for the Judean Christians, but that they also gave themselves first to the Lord and his apostle by the will of God. Paul had been appointed an apostle by the will of God (1:1) and now he sees his converts in Macedonia dedicating themselves to the Lord and to him. They appear to have recognized Paul’s own God-given authority, and their response to his appeal on behalf of the Judean Christians was a recognition of that authority as well as an expression of compassion for those in need.
6. Accordingly we have urged Titus. Paul’s motivation, in part at least, for reopening the matter of the collection with the Corinthians owes something to the astonishing response of the Macedonians (and his fear of humiliation before them if the Corinthians, of whose readiness to contribute he had boasted, were to be found wanting in the matter, cf. 9:1–5). Accordingly he urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work. Verse 10 reveals that some initiatives had been taken in relation to the collection in Corinth ‘a year ago’. This probably refers to the initial enquiry made by the Corinthians, and the instructions Paul gave in response (). However, it is unlikely that Titus had been involved at that early stage, because 7:14 suggests that the visit to Corinth from which he had just returned (7:5–7) was his first to the church there. It is more likely, therefore, that it was on his most recent visit that Titus, finding the Corinthians had responded so positively to Paul’s ‘severe’ letter, had begun to work with them on the matter of the collection. In the present context, then, Paul tells his readers that he has urged Titus to complete what he had begun on his most recent visit.
Kruse, C. G. (1987). 2 Corinthians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 8, pp. 147–149). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Sermon Points

1. Sincere

2 Corinthians 8:8 NKJV
I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.
2 Cor 8:

Know:

Know:

Here in this text Paul is saying to them that this is not the law but a show of there love.
Paul is testing their love. He wants to see commitment matches their confession.
Your giving is a measure of your sincere love.

Feel:

Sincere love should lead you to action.
Many people complain about what isn’t done in our churches or community.
According to research only 10-25% of church goers are givers of at least 10%. 80% of Americans give less than 2%.

Do:

If American believers gave at least 10% there would be a $165 billion dollar surplus
$25 Bill -relieve global hunger, $12B Eliminate illiteracy in five years, $15B solve the water and sanitation issues, $1 billion for all overseas mission work. (100-110 left)
(where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.)
Give in such a way that it is a blessing to someone else.

2. Sacraficial

2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians

Know:

Paul here is trying to convey to this congregation that they have a responsibility because they have already been recipients.
Paul points to how Christ emptied himself that you may be filled.
Christ came from humble means but what he poured out was not material but it was tangible. (He stepped down out of heaven, into a manger given to poverty stricken parents. Living from place to place until he found himself at a cross where he sacrificed his life that i might have life

Feel:

The problem today in our giving is not our stuff its our stewardship. The way we manage our many blessings.
According to a new Nielsen report although AA’s only make up about 14% of the population our spending power is currently at 1.2 Trillion. (What do we have to show for it?)
As a body of believers we have a responsibility to follow the example of Christ. We must help those who can’t help themselves.

Do:

We must use our resources to restore our families, our churches and community.
We have to be willing to sacrifice in some areas so that we can use more of our resources to make an impact.
The Macedonians gave out of opportunity to help somebody not as an obligation. (Your little is much!)

3. Steadfast

2 Cor 8:10
2 Corinthians 8:10–11 NKJV
And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

Know:

Paul is saying I can’t make you do anything but i’m urging you and encouraging you to finish what you started.
The NIV says in verse 11 Now finish the work!
The Corinthians had lost momentum and Paul is instructing them to get back to it.

Feel:

Anybody feel like we have some unfinished work?!
Our Desires have to be matched by our Dedication
I believe that if we all come together the church can do for the community than just talk about it.

Do:

If you want it, work for it!
We don’t need a New Year’s Resolution, we need a Last Year’s Revelation. Get back to what he showed you.
Commit until Completion

Conclusion

John 3:16 KJV 1900
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
We see Sincere, Sacrificial, and Steadfast giving here in
Sincere - God so loved the world
Sacrificial - That He gave His only
Steadfast - but have everlasting life
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