The Wonderful Grace of Giving

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  8 : 9
Subject: Christian Living; Money; Possessions; Stewardship; Giving
Introduction

I wish to review “grace giving” as recorded in 2 Corinthians 8-9 with a particular focus on 2 Corinthians 8:9: “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.”

Jesus is both the Master and Model of Giving. The context is the Macedonia Church, however they served as Encouragers, Jesus served as the Example.

Note Several Truths:

1. The Recognition of Jesus’ Grace 9a

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus”

“know” - connects the dots; this is not an intellectual knowing as much as an experiential knowing.

1 John 5:13

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

2. The Riches of Jesus’ Glory 9b

“that, though He was rich” – a reference to the eternality and pre-existence of Christ. As the second person of the Trinity, Christ is as rich as God is rich. He owns everything, and possesses all power, authority, sovereignty, glory, honor, and majesty. He, Who was incomparably rich in His pre-existence with the Father.

3. The Reminder of Jesus’ Generosity 9c

“He became poor” - reference to Christ’s incarnation. He laid aside the independent exercise of all His divine prerogatives, left His place with God, took on human form, and died on a cross like a common criminal.

Sovereign becomes Servant

Christ becomes Carpenter

Word becomes Flesh

God becomes Man

Unlike the Macedonians, who gave when they were extremely poor (v.2), Christ gave when he was incalculably rich. Like the Macedonians (v.5) Christ gave Himself.

4. The Recipients of His Gospel 9c

“yet for your sakes” – substitution pure and simple

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

5. The Reason for Jesus’ Gift

“that you through His poverty might become rich”

Believers become rich through the sacrifice and impoverishment of Christ. We become rich in salvation, forgiveness, joy, peace, glory, honor, and majesty; we are joint heirs with Christ.

Paul saw in Christ the first example of one who showed eagerness and generosity in giving as a demonstration of His love. If the sacrificial giving of the Macedonians did not stimulate emulation, the example of Christ’s selflessness certainly would. If Christ’s example did not move the Corinthians to give, apparently nothing would. A self-sacrificing, generous spirit should be normal for every Christian.

Anonymous quote defining money, “an article which may be used as a universal passport to everywhere except heaven, and as a universal provider for everything except happiness.”

I. Outward Circumstances and Difficulties Should Not Inhibit Generosity in Giving

2 Corinthians 8:1-4: “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”

The Macedonia churches were not giving out of their abundance; rather they were giving generously out of their poverty. They gave - not because they had to give - but because they wanted to give.

Their giving far exceeded their financial ability. They viewed this special offering as a privilege, not as an obligation.

Joy and generosity are twins - they accompany one another.

II. All Financial Giving Should be Preceded by Self-Giving

2 Corinthians 8:5: “And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.”

They first gave themselves to the Lord

III. Believers Should Seek to Excel in the Grace Of Giving

2 Corinthians 8:6-7: “So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us — see that you abound in this grace also.”

IV. Worth Stewardship Goals Should be Brought to Completion

2 Corinthians 8:6: “So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.”

2 Corinthians 8:10-11: “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; 11 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.”

2 Corinthians 9:5: “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.”

Finish what you begin

In spiritual things, there is value in completing what you start.

V. Generous Giving Gives Evidence of the Sincerity of One’s Love

2 Corinthians 8:8-9: “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.”

2 Corinthians 8:24: “Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.”

The grace of God becomes the supreme motivating factor in true Christian stewardship.

Our giving should be rooted in His giving.

VI. A Willingness to Give is More Important Than the Amount Given

2 Corinthians 8:12: “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.”

VII. In the Economy of God, the Sufficiency of Some Minister to the Deficiency of Others

 2 Corinthians 8:13-15: “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack — that there may be equality. As it is written, "’He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.’"

v.14 “Your abundance” - “their abundance”

VIII. The Expenditure of God’s Money Should be done Judiciously

2 Corinthians 8:16-21: “But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us — providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

To honor the Lord

To do vital ministry

To avoid any type of criticism

IX. Generous Spiritual Giving will have a Positive Influence on OTHER’S GIVING

2 Corinthians 9:1-2: “Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority.”

X. The Attitude in Which a Gift is Given is of Utmost Importance to God - Give Cheerfully and Willingly, not Grudgingly

2 Corinthians 9:5-7:  “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

XI. Generosity Moves the Heart of God to Supply More Seed and Meet All Needs

2 Corinthians 9:8-11: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

"’He has dispersed abroad,

He has given to the poor;

His righteousness endures forever.’"

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

“All grace”  “Always”

“All sufficiency” “All things”

XII. Generosity Will Result in Praise and Thanksgiving to God

2 Corinthians 9:11-14: “while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.”

XIII. Generous Giving is the Material Response to God’s Indescribable GIFT

2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”