What We Work For
2 Corinthians 8:1-9
John R. Wible
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Money Makes the World Go ‘Round
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The Point 2 Cor. 8:1-9
• Support God’s kingdom work with
• Saving is a good thing, but why save?
– Our needs?
– Others needs?
– A rainy day?
• Is our security in the money?
• On what do you enjoy spending? (P. 32)
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A Big Challenge
• Managing money is one of our biggest
• The older we get, the more we are
tempted to hoard stuff, including money
• Why is that? Is that sin?
• Is it worse than our younger, venal sins?
• Paul challenges us to excel in the grace of
giving in order to advance God’s kingdom
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That Means More than Change
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• Good Work – work is a gift not a curse
• We should work as unto the Lord
• Today, giving out of the proceeds of our
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• Macedonian churches collecting for Church
• This was of great importance to Paul
– Jerusalem was poor, but
– Gentiles needed to be seen as caring
• The Church at Corinth was to participate,
but needed encouragement
• Paul uses other Macedonian churches as
an example of giving out of poverty
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The Macedonian Churches
Five universal characteristics:
1. Known widely for the authenticity and
sincerity of their faith.
2. Reputation for the diversity of their
membership and leadership.
3. Out of their eagerness to understand,
they were still susceptible to false
teachings that could lead them astray
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The Macedonian Churches
4. Generous response to the needs of
Jewish Christians in Jerusalem
5. Gratitude Macedonian Christians had for
Paul, their founding pastor and most
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Greece – Achaia and Macedonia
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• They gave “of themselves”
• Two Macedonians were given to the work
of the Word
– Aristarchus of Thessalonica probably became
Paul’s slave (Barclay)
– Epaphroditus brought the give from Philippi
with Paul in prison and nearly died
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To persuade the Corinthians, Paul uses five
1. Example of others (Macedonians)
2. Example of Jesus Christ
3. He cites their own past record
4. Stresses the necessity of putting fine
feeling into fine action
5. Life has a way of evening things up
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Why Poverty in Jerusalem?
• Famine prophesied
• After conversion Jews in Jerusalem would
have been ostracized
• The "experiment in community sharing“
aggravated their poverty.
• Food shortages in Palestine because of
overpopulation caused the famine of A.D.
46 in the time of Emperor Claudius
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Why Poverty in Jerusalem?
• As the mother-church of Christendom, the
Jerusalem church was obliged to support a
proportionately large number of teachers
and probably to provide hospitality for
frequent Christian visitors to the holy city.
• Jews in Palestine were subject to a
crippling twofold taxation--Jewish and
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2 Corinthians 8:1-2
1 We want you to know, brothers, about the
grace of God granted to the churches of
2 During a severe testing by affliction, their
abundance of joy and their deep poverty
overflowed into the wealth of their
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• Wealth (page 34) generosity was more than
• Grace (See page 35) The power that ignited
the Macedonian Generosity
• Read Bullets on Page 35
– Generosity is a lifestyle that gives freely.
– A right heart results in open hands.
• Read page 35, “Whether our …”
• The most generous person? Why?
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Meeting God’s Challenge
Q: If you are to meet the challenge of
supporting God’s kingdom, what is it
going to take?
We can only do so when our hearts are
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Where is Your Heart?
Just asking . . .
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2 Corinthians 8:3-5
3 I testify that, on their own, according to
their ability and beyond their ability,
4 they begged us insistently for the privilege
of sharing in the ministry to the saints,
5 and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they
gave themselves especially to the Lord, then
to us by God’s will.
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2 Corinthians 8:6-7
• 6 So we urged Titus that just as he had
begun, so he should also complete this
grace to you.
• 7 Now as you excel in everything—faith,
speech, knowledge, and in all diligence,
and in your love for us—excel also in this
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Macedonians’ Desire to Give
• “[B]eyond their ability” (v. 3)
• “[B]egged for the privilege”
Q: Would you use those words to describe
your feelings when you hear the call for a
• Father Gillhooly and the special offerings
• Note verse 5 and our transformation to
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Why do we sometimes see sharing as a burden not a
• See pp. 37-38, note especially points 1, 2, and 3:
1. Willingly. They gave voluntarily to God’s work and His
2. Sacrificially. With all they had, they met the needs of
3. Supremely. With an overflowing heart, they excelled in
Q: What were the ways the Macedonians offered
themselves to others?
Q: How could we give generously when income is fixed or
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Something to Think About
Managing our finances as we age is
challenging, but renewing our minds
by focusing on the immeasurable gift
displayed on the cross of Christ can
empower us to have open hearts
instead of grasping hearts
Q: How do you respond to that?
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2 Corinthians 8:8-9
8 I am not saying this as a command. Rather,
by means of the diligence of others, I am
testing the genuineness of your love.
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake
He became poor, so that by His poverty
you might become rich.
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See statistics on page 39.
• 1968 – 3.11% (not really good)
• 2009 – 2.38% (decline)
• Read v. 8, “I am testing the genuineness of
Q: What would God say about the
genuineness of our love for Him and other
people based upon these statistics?
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• We can never become the givers God
desires us to be by feeling guilty or simply
trying harder in our own strength.
• Our fallen human nature fights against us.
• Keeping Christ’s ultimate act of generosity
before our minds and trusting in the of the
gospel begins to transform our grasping
hearts into giving hearts.
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• What can we change in our community if
we, as a group, give generously?
• Look at the activity “Obstacles to
Generous Giving” (BOOK, p. 41), how
would you responded?
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Live it Out
• The Point: “Support God’s kingdom work
with your income.”
• Which application is God speaking to you
• While we have breath, the Holy Spirit is
still in the heart transformation business.
• As our hearts are transformed, they open
up, and we become the givers God intends
for us to be.
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Let’s Pray About it!
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