Grace bookends this passage in 2 Corinthians. Those who are overwhelmed with grace are compelled to share their resources. God is the centerpiece of today's passage, 2 Corinthians 9:8-15. He gives to us first; we realize many benefits from His giving.
Remember that this whole section of 2 Corinthians 8-9 is bookended by grace. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, God is mentioned repeatedly, and His work is cause for rejoicing. When God is at the controls of our lives, He will care for those who share resources because they care for His cause. If we want to know the full capability of God's grace, we will meditate on Christ's riches generously shared with us. His divine reciprocity was given for a cause.
This passage in Corinthians discusses what Christians do with the normal excess that the Lord provides.
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.
We have been studying the character of the saved heart that desires to share resources to meet the needs of the church Body in order to share the Gospel more effectively. The context of 2 Corinthians 8-9 is that of one church giving to another. The giver's heart is based in the principle that everything we own is God's, not ours.
The Corinthian church had been distracted by an unbelieving group among them from an important part of worship. They had responded well to Paul's correction in his first letter. In 2 Corinthians, he has continued to explain what growing Christians do.
2 Corinthians 8:7-8 discusses the position of a believer. As they are grown by grace, they will exhibit a series of virtues, of which giving is the last that Paul lists. These virtues work together and are only the result of God's work. Paul compliments the Corinthians and assumes they will keep growing.
We will continue to study how the flock cares for itself and is instructed by grace in 2 Corinthians 8:4-6.
The word “grace” begins this section in verse 1 and also appears as “favor” and “gracious” in this passage. Since God’s Word is unchanging, grace teaches every believer how to give in the same way through the Spirit of God. The verb “gave” reverberates through descriptions of intention, motivation, and methodology of how the Macedonians gave.
It is easy to forget that the Church exists for Christ and His mission. Jesus said, "Freely you received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). The nature of grace is free and generous, and so should be its influence in our lives.
On Memorial Day, we often hear the phrase, “All gave some; some gave all.” Scripture also says that the greatest love that can be shown is giving one’s life for another (John 15:13). The ultimate example of this is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
What is invaluable to you? Usually the greatest blessings in our life are given to us without being earned or deserved. As treasured as some possessions are to us, no material gift can change a heart and mind forever. This is something that God's grace does, and only it can do.
Women were not given a respected place in first-century culture. The Bible gives them an equal spiritual standing as illustrated by many examples. Jesus' public ministry especially highlighted the spiritual place He gave women. Women listened to Christ, followed Him, were healed by Him, and served as examples of being and making disciples. Women are essential influencers within God's community of the local church.
The latter half of Romans 12 instructs Christians on the kind of love we should display. Our love is holy, relational, passionate, and aware. A series of direct imperatives begins in Romans 12:13. Love is intentional about its surroundings.
The church doesn't function well unless the whole of ourselves is gathered with the whole of God's family and devoted to the whole of God's purposes. God's commission for His church is bigger than any one of us. He desires to govern all of us by His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Pastors can be hesitant to talk about the proper use of possessions. But if all of us belongs to God, then everything we are and have should be used to glorify Him. Every area of our life is sacred.
The New Testament contains 126 instructions for our use of material possessions. We will summarize all these under 8-9 categories to learn how God wants us to use what He's given us for the edification of the church and the advancement of the Gospel.
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