Summary: In this message, we learn from the Apostle Paul how grace-oriented giving works.
Today is the third in my four-week series of sermons titled, “Guidelines for Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8-9.
The first week we looked at “An Example of Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.
The second week we looked at “An Exhortation to Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8:6-15.
And today I would like to look at “An Explanation of Grace-Oriented Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5.
So, let’s read 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5:
16 But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. 19 And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. 20 We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.
9 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove vain in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. (2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5)
Hudson Taylor, in many ways the father of faith missions, once said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” As pastor and author John MacArthur says, “That’s axiomatic, that’s a self-evident truth.” God always supports his own program. If God has decided that he wants to accomplish a certain project, then God always supplies all the necessary means in order to accomplish his purposes.
So, our task as a church is to make sure constantly that we are doing what God wants us to do. After all, this is Christ’s church, and we are simply serving him as he builds his church in this place.
I was reminded this week that this is Christ’s church when I was at lunch with a fellow pastor. We were chatting about the respective churches we serve, and so I asked him a question, “So, how is your church doing?”
He very gently said, “Well, it’s not my church. It’s Christ’s church. Things are going very well. Thank you for asking.”
So, that Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church is not my church. It is Christ’s church. I am simply the pastor of the church to which Christ has called me. And all of us together are worshiping and serving Christ in his church here in this place. And that is why it is so important for our leadership to make sure that all that we do in terms of ministry is because that is what Jesus wants us to do.
I say all of this because you and I receive many pleas from all kinds of ministries for support. It is vitally important that when money is given to any church or ministry that we have some basic principles about giving to support that ministry. And that is what we have in our text for today.
But, before we get into an explanation of how we should give our money to support a ministry or church, let’s review briefly what we have covered so far.
Paul planted the church in Corinth in 51-52 AD, during his second missionary journey. After Paul established the Corinthian Church he returned to Antioch, thus concluding his second missionary journey.