The Integrity and Character of Sharing Resources for Gospel Purposes.

The primary application of this chapter is not an individual giving to their local church, but local churches helping one another meet needs for Gospel purposes.

Grace's normal operation in a saved, Spirit-filled person's life will compel them to give. There are several reasons why an individual believer might not. They may not have been instructed how to; they may have difficulty trusting leadership because of past experiences; or they may not acknowledge that all they have is God's. As the Holy Spirit grows a person, they will share toward God's mission what is already His (1 Corinthians 6:19).

In 2 Corinthians 8:16-24, Paul describes 4 people's examples of sharing according to a Gospel mission. Several men worked alongside Paul and Titus to collect the gift for the Jerusalem church. These kind of examples love transparency. They want to be known and to know those to whom God has appointed them to be examples.

Paul: The Initiator

Paul initiated the gift for the needy Jerusalem church; he personally contributed to it, orchestrated its collection, then stepped aside to let God's people carry it out. He was conscientious about his pre-salvation history and the distraction it might become if he was involved in the gift's delivery.

Titus: The Lover of People

Titus is uniquely called Paul's "partner" in 2 Corinthians 8:16-17. He was a lover of people and a second-chair leader who influenced the Corinthian church's recovery. He served as an encourager to Paul. He showed earnest, spiritual passion for sharing resources toward Gospel advancement in other churches.

The Gospel Compass (2 Corinthians 8:18-19)

The first unnamed man Paul mentions was already well-known, "famous" even, to the Corinthians. His proper name is unknown, but he was primarily known by the Gospel. He was not a pastor or teacher but simply a servant who made the Gospel well-known in all the area churches. He was appointed by multiple churches to help collect this gift. He is an example of how grace can operate in any church believer. He was probably a man of means with the gift of evangelism, but he did not allow his high degree of gifting or its development to become a weakness. He stayed focused and humble.

2 Corinthians 8:20-21 serve as a parenthesis highlighting the care taken of this immensely valuable collection. Such a large sum of money needed to be guarded by accountable men.

The Reconciler (2 Corinthians 8:22)

This second unnamed man was probably best known by the Corinthian church. He had persevered well in difficult personal trials. His example highlights the grace that enabled his perseverance; he also wanted Christ to be remembered above himself. He was not from Corinth but likely had loved them through their trouble and served as another mediator between them and Paul. He stayed "on mission" despite great personal tests and helped the church stay on mission as well. Such believers are humbly functioning in relationship building and restoring, always invested and preoccupied with Gospel progress.

2 Corinthians 8:23-24 is a concluding statement focused on the glory of Christ and His mission for the church. Paul urges the Corinthians to show the proof of their primary love for God by their love for others. There is nothing wrong with being an example church on mission. Local churches should be strong enough in themselves to care for and strengthen other churches for the sake of the Gospel.

Application Points

  • The only way to tell if a person's passion about giving is godly is whether they stay on Gospel mission.
  • How is God's grace developing you? Are you a lover of people like Titus? Are you a "gospel compass" who points others to Christ? Does God use you as a reconciler of relationships? Are you passionate about Gospel progress despite your personal trials?
  • Think about your local church. Are we strong enough to care for other churches for the sake of the Gospel without getting in their business?
  • What do you live for? Is your Gospel vision limited to your country? Remember that we are citizens of another place first, and stay on mission.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15, 1:6-7 – Transparency in the Macedonian churches.
  • 1 Peter 4:10-11 – A pastor is not above any other gifted believer, because all spiritual gifts are sourced in grace.
  • Proverbs 3:4 – Seek to honor God and be honorable among men.
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-15 – This world will never be what we want it to be.