by Ernest Easley

The Cooperative Way
Dr. Ernest L. Easley
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
January 8, 2012

Now join me in the Apostle Paul's second book to the believers at Corinth: the book of 2nd Corinthians. And once there .. turn with me to chapter 8.
Now here's the setting: The Apostle Paul is writing to the believers at Corinth about Christian giving. Not tight fisted giving .. not careless giving. He's talking here about true .. generous giving: cooperatively.
Paul had reported back in 1 Corinthians that a famine had struck the land and there were a lot of people out of work. Sounds a lot like today .. doesn't it?
Now because of the high unemployment rate .. many were going without food … including the believers who lived in Corinth. So when Paul heard about their situation .. he sent word to the Gentile churches to help. He thought it would be a wonderful way to express their love for Jesus.
Now here's what those Gentile churches taught them and now teach us: the best way to give and meet needs is together … cooperatively.
Now the word "cooperate" means acting or working together. You cannot force somebody to cooperate. It's a voluntary act by people who want to work together to accomplish a goal.
Now when it comes to Southern Baptist … cooperation has been a benchmark. Historically .. we have been committed to our system of giving called The Cooperative Program because of our desire to see our world reached for Christ.
But the Cooperative Way didn't begin with Southern Baptist .. it began in the New Testament when Paul called for cooperation in order to meet the needs of those believers in Jerusalem.
The Cooperative Way
2 Corinthians 8.1-7
1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their abili ...

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