Summary: This sermon explains 2 Cor 8:9 in easy to understand terms and shows how we can follow Jesus’ example of selflessness.
I can’t hear what you are saying because your actions speak louder than your words.
Do as I say not as I do.
We lead by example.
Christ is the greatest example of selflessness.
Most teach on 2 Cor 8 in the context of giving money.
I am speaking in the context of giving ourselves (8:5).
In I COR 16:3 Paul speaks of collecting an offering for believers in Jerusalem.
They had pledged an offering a year ago and were delinquent. (8:10).
Possibly because :
1) They were Gentiles, Jerusalem Christians were Jews.
2) False apostles entered the Church. (Ch 10 &11).
Paul uses examples to encourage them to give :
1) The Macedonians gave out of poverty.
Macedonian Churches : Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica.
They were selfless.
2) Christ was rich and became poor.
Not monetarily, He gave of Himself.
He wants them to give of themselves, not just their money
He wants their heart
I) YOU KNOW THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
A) WHY DID HE SAY THIS ?
To point out correct motivation in giving
Let the grace of God be your motivation.
Strange things motivate people - 17th cent. Queen Eliz.
Why did so many people look so pale ? Tuberculosis.
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH – Rick Warren.
3 wrong motivations :
i) Tradition –
Perpetuate the past, no flexability, Tradition becomes Gosple.
Matt 15 Tradition is so strong it can nullify the Word of God.
Nonrockaboatus - hardening of the catagories.
e.g. - person who wanted their seat.
ii) Personality – Everything revolves around one figure.
The sole source of motivation, power, and excitement.
iii) Finances – How much will it cost ?
The bottom line is not who got saved but how much was saved.
What should our primary motive be ? Grace. (Vs. 1)
We didn’t deserve for Him to become man.
B) WHY DID HE SAY THIS NOW ?
Ch 8 & 9 seem out of context, abrupt.
He was addressing the root cause of their problems – SELFISHNESS.
It was the root cause of :
- Gluttony at the Lord’s table
- A man having his father’s wife.
Vs. 5 - He wanted them to give themselves to the Lord first.
That would result in their involvement, participation, commitment, fellowship.
He wanted them to love the Lord - develop this. Loving the Lord in rel to selfishness.
He didn’t write Ch. 8 & 9 for money – he wanted their fellowship.
Giving is more than money – he wanted them to give of themselves.
“It is easier to give of our substance rather than ourselves”.
C) WHAT WAS THE GRACE THEY KNEW ?
It was not knowing Christ.
Grace – charis – also trans. gift.
Charis speaks of God’s giving.
The grace of God is that He became man for us. .
They knew His example of selfless giving.
THE MISER OF MARSEILLES by Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1944
There is a legend about how, years ago, there was an old man who used to walk the streets of that seaport town whom they called "The Miser of Marseilles." He was an object of derision throughout the whole city and even throughout the south of France, for everybody seemed to know him. Apparently he loved nothing and had no other object than to hoard every bit of money he got hold of; for what purpose, none knew.
He was hated whenever he appeared on the streets. When he died, he was so despised that only a single person attended his funeral. Then his will was read, and these were its strange terms:
“From my infancy I noticed that the poor people of Marseilles had great difficulty in getting water. I noticed that water, the gift of God, was very dear and difficult to obtain. And when they could get that water, it was not as pure and clean as God intended it to be. Therefore, I vowed before God that I would live but for one purpose, for one end. I would save money, money, money; that I might give it to the city on one condition: that an aqueduct be built to bring fresh, pure water from yonder lake in the hills to Marseilles. That I now make possible by leaving all my hoarded wealth to this city. This is my last will and testament”.
Travelers in Marseilles today hear the poor people say as they drink the pure, sweet water from the lake in the hills, "Ah, when the miser died, we misunderstood him, but he did it all for us! We called him the miser of Marseilles, but he was more than that; he was the savior of Marseilles. "
If we human beings could but learn the one inescapable meaning of that parable we would know the secret of how to get the most out of life which is to give the most to life.