The North Is Inspired by the South
II Corinthians 8:1-9
July 25, 2004
INTRODUCTION: I personally believe that one of the great Christian virtues or attributes of a Spirit-filled believer is gratefulness. It seems only reasonable that this would be our proper response to the Grace of God.
The Apostle Paul had challenged the people of the South (Corinth) a year before to give a generous gift to the poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem. It was definitely a missions offering in the first century.
Chapters 8 & 9 speak volumes of the principles and process of gathering this offering. On four different occasions Paul mentioned that their giving will lead to "thanksgiving to God."
Dr. John Stott said that the entire trinity was involved in this generous giving:
1. The Grace of God. 8:1
2. The Cross of Christ. 8:9
3. The Unity of the Holy Spirit
The Lord mightily uses Paul to help all of us see that giving is more of an opportunity than an obligation. Also the New Testament giving is to be based more on God's work within His people than the people's work for God.
I believe that significant resources call for a special responsibility as stewards.
Let's talk about Generous Giving
I. IT COMMENCES WITH GOD'S GENEROSITY. 1-3
"the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia" – in other words, behind the generosity of the Macedonians, Paul saw the generosity of God. Grace is another word for generosity. God gets the credit, the honor and the glory for what He did through them.
When the church at Macedonia heard of the collection for the poor believers in Jerusalem, the grace of God in their hearts gave them a desire to be involved. It was an inside job; not an outward appeal. They were inspired by the Corinthians in the South. Macedonia was made up of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea.
Now, for Macedonia to be involved in this collection, they were in dire need of God's involvement in their financ ...
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